Sunday, April 24, 2011

he is not here

yesterday i learned that one of my very most dear and very best friends, briana, died in a car accident.

today i celebrated and marveled at the resurrection and atonement of my savior jesus christ.

my heart is broken.

but my heart is hopeful.

i last talked to bri on monday, to tell her AWD and i were engaged. we made a plan to meet up for breakfast while AWD and i are in salt lake in a few weeks. it has been almost a year since i have seen her face-to-face. i couldn't wait.

but now i will have to wait a little while longer.

it still seems impossible to believe. impossible that she'll never meet AWD in this life, impossible that she won't be with us in person on the day we are married like i so hoped she would be. impossible that she won't deliver my babies like i always wanted her to, that i won't take my kids to visit her.

instead, i will tell my kids these stories.

about how once every six months or so, bri would get a craving for lemon bars that she couldn't shake until she made a batch and ate one. except that she could never eat just one and always ended up eating the whole pan. and then she would say, "i never want to see another lemon bar for as long as i live!" but then, six months later, she would.

or about how one day i came home and there was a sort of strange smell in the house and no one was home but the oven was on really low, and when i opened it up there was a placenta inside, drying out to be ground up into powder, put into capsules and delivered to one of bri's clients. it was the first time i had ever seen a placenta. it was kind of gross.

one of my favorite things to do on cold, wintery sunday mornings was to climb up the stairs and crawl into bed with bri until it was time to get up and get ready for church. we would talk and talk and i would doze off and we were always late on those mornings and it was always worth it. i am especially glad now that i didn't lose a single second.

and then there are the millions of little details that add up as a person becomes a part of you and your life. even these past few years, when we have been far away from each other, we've spent hours and hours on the phone, talking through the joys and sorrows and questions and answers and problems and solutions and epiphanies that make up our mortal experience.

even now all i want to do is call her, to talk to her about this, about her being gone, so we can figure out how to deal with it together. i am finding it difficult to deal with it on my own.

i am also going to tell my children this story.

that on the morning of the third day, mary went to the tomb and it was empty. and the angel said unto her, "why seek ye the living among the dead? he is not here, for he is risen, as he said."

and then i will tell them that i know that this is true. that the savior jesus christ rose on the third day and that through him we, too, can conquer death.

i will know it then as i feel it now, here in the space where the rubber meets the road and the substance of my faith matters. if there ever was a time when believing mattered, it is now.

and believe i do.

i believe that christ the lord rose from the grave, as he promised his disciples that he would.

i believe that because of the sacrifice and resurrection of the savior, we too can live again, forever with him and with one another.

i believe that families are eternal.

i believe that friendships are, too.

i believe that a loving heavenly father knows each of us, loves each of us, and takes care of each of us.

i believe that hard and painful and incomprehensible things happen to us here in mortality.

i know that the spirit of the lord can comfort us whether we understand our pain or not.

my heart is broken.

but my heart is hopeful.

as president thomas s. monson said, "in our hour of deepest sorrow, we can receive profound peace from the words of the angel that first easter morning: 'he is not here, for he is risen.'"

i know i am not alone when i say that my sorrow at this particular loss feels very deep indeed. and i think i will be sad for a long time. in fact, i think i will miss bri for my whole life. but i trust in the words of the angel, in the peace of the lord.

i trust in his plan.

and, above all, i trust him.


Evan and Holly said...

I just saw this after I finished my own. You said it better, and I agree with everything you said. I hope you can come to her memorial service, I hope we can give each other strength.

angella said...

I'm so sorry you lost your dear friend. My heart breaks for you and for her family. Yes, you will see her again, and she will be just as beautiful as you remember her being.

kimberlee said...

exquisitely, beautifully expressed.

Wendy said...

Briana was in my ward, but I never had the chance to get to know her very well. I feel like through your post I was able to learn a bit more about her and appreciate the wonderful young woman she is. I'm so sorry for you loss but so grateful for your faith and testimony that you so eloquently shared.

Ems said...

thanks so much for this frances, it really is beautiful. I'm so sorry for her loss, she really was so wonderful.

Makenzie said...

You captured the Briana I knew too. I was her friend and a roommate for a year - she made delicious lemon bars! (giggling) I loved everything about her - she was just lovely. Still is. Sad I can't be there in UT for the service.

suvi said...

I didn't know her as well as you did, but i've been missing her this weekend too. I was hoping you would write about her because I've been a such a loss to know what to feel, or think, or say. It breaks my heart, but i am so, so grateful for the Resurrection and the gospel too. It also makes me want to cling to the dear people I have in my life right now. Thank you for the wonderful friend and lady you are frances. I am sure Bri misses you too.

Amy said...

Francis, that was, indeed, a lovely tribute to your friend. I lost a friend in a car accident nearly 13 years ago now and I felt (and still feel) all the same things you are. There are still days when I think of something I want to tell her or ask her and I go to call her and remember I can not. I'm certain that I will miss her my whole life, too, but I look forward to that day when I will see her again and I will yell "Kristina!" and she will yell "Amy" and we will embrace and it will be as if we were never apart.

Sarita said...

Your words are wonderful, Frances. We were concerned for you as soon as we heard. I am so grateful for the knowledge of our living Christ and Savior and what this means for each one of us. I know people always say this, but everything that I know of Bri and my interactions with her truly do support that she is an angelic sweet and unique spirit. I have always thought so. And she will always be.

Grandma Cebe said...

Frances - What a wonderful tribute to Briana. I was impressed with her from the moment I first met her at a Bishop's dinner at our home. I didn't know that you were such close friends. She will be greatly missed in this life by many people.

On a happier note - congratulations on your engagement. Wonderful news!

Connie Buie

heatherlynn said...

Oh Frances. I love you. Bri. Everything. With all my heart. Thank you. Please post this on her wall for her fam if you haven't, ok? I just talked with Tess. They would be so happy.

scuz said...

Well said Francis, thank you. I know you two were incredibly close. And congratulations on your engagement!


Miaken said...

What a beautiful post. I just heard yesterday and it broke my heart. Your words are very comforting for anyone having a hard time with this right now. Love you, and grateful you are so good at loving others.

Alison Hyde said...

Oh honey. I'm so sorry. And so grateful for your faith and for the friendship that will always bless you.

Lisalu said...

Hi Frances, thanks for your thoughts and stories. I remember her telling me about you. After reading your post, I cried because you knew her like I did. I feel your pain and want to meet you and cry with you. She is so special and I know we both are greater for knowing her. Maybe I will get to meet you at her memorial?
Hope so. Love, Lisa

elsa bags said...

well said frances. it's hard to loose someone you know & way harder when that someone is a close friend. she was & is a great gal.


Abby said...

I'm so sorry Frances...

Dad said...

Francis, I'm so sorry. This so sad but what a beautiful tribute. We love you Francis.

Matthew Lampros and family

Ms. White said...

thank you for putting into words what many couldn't. heaven's gained a beautiful soul. bri's smiles and kindness will be missed.

Sunshine said...

I sit with tears streaming down my face as I read your beautiful trubute and testimony. And I don't even know Briana. But somehow, I know I love her, as I love you.

Alisha Stamper said...

thank you for this post. I had the privilege of having briana at my daughter's birth a year ago, and spending time with her and cathy. I was privileged to photograph her and i am now so very grateful for the images I have. She became a true friend and I miss her so terribly. I am so thankful for the savior.

Kate said...

This is a video my husband Neil & I made dedicated to Bri.