Mitch graduated from University that May, after we had been staying with his parents for about 4 1/2 months. Graduation was so good, and so bad at the same time. My best friend was graduating with Mitch, so she and her husband came to Canada for the ceremony. It was such a blessing to see my husband and best friend graduate together. I loved sharing in their accomplishment as well as spending time with good friends. I remember as part of the ceremony, we sang Be Thou my Vision. We sang the verse that goes:
Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise:
be thou mine inheritance now and always;
be thou and thou only the first in my heart;
O High King of heaven, my treasure thou art...
I had been up all night Saturday night with my best friend. When you only have a couple days to "catch up," you just can't waste time sleeping. We only slept a couple of hours and I was so exhausted. We were enjoying Mitch's graduation party when the phone rang. It was my mom, and it was for me. I figured she was calling to congratulate Mitch, but I was confused as to why she as asking for me. I took the call and headed toward our room while I greeted my mom on the phone. There were probably 35 people in the house and I didn't think I would be able to hear the conversation unless I got alone in a closed room.
The moment I heard my mom's voice, my whole body went cold. I knew something was terribly wrong. I didn't know what, but fear and foreboding swept over me in an icy wave. She told me that my Great Aunt had been killed in a car wreck. I began to weep and shake. I was very close with my Aunt... I loved her so much. I had just seen her when I was home, and I never expected it to be the last time. That last visit would have been so different had I known, but there was no way to prepare. Her death came as such a shock. My mom just kept saying, "Oh Char, I'm so sorry." I knew how hard that call was for my mom. She loved her Aunt so so much.
I didn't go back out to the party. I stayed alone in the room and wept into my pillow. Mitch came in and I told him what had happened. He felt sick for me. He held me as I cried, but I really just wanted to be alone. I didn't want people to notice he was away from his party and to start asking questions. I didn't want to talk to anyone, I just wanted to be alone to grieve. People asked where I was, but they knew how exhausted I was and figured I had slipped away to sleep.
Mitch did tell a few people what had happened, which was ok. But I had a few people come back to the room to give condolences and maybe encouragement. However, what was meant for encouragement, left me feeling more empty and sad than ever. People always say things like, "they're in a better place," or "they're looking down on you," to make you feel better, but it didn't. The fact is, no one but Mitch and I, at that whole party, knew my Aunt. These people saw (or knew of) no fruit of repentance in her life. They knew nothing of a relationship with the Lord. They had no inkling of whether she were saved or not. But I knew... And the fact that I wasn't as diligent in sharing the gospel with her as I wished, made me weep with regret and sorrow.
I look back on that day and I feel like it marked a downward slope for me. Not spiritually, but emotionally and mentally. I went through a few dark years, and I can't help but think that this day had marked the beginning of it all.