Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I guess I'm a little late, but I wanted to add my voice to the hundreds of voices that are missing Kerri Lane. I've been reading blog posts about her situation for months, and about her death since it happened (two weeks ago tomorrow). Several of my readers are Highland people who knew Kerri, and the rest of you have probably heard about her. I have no answers following her death, but I just want to say - I miss her.

Kerri was a part of the Lifeteam I joined this summer, which meets at the Donagheys' house every week. She and Carlee and Jolee, her two precious little girls, would light up the room every time they came in, literally. Kerri was on a fruit-and-veggies diet for half the summer, but it never seemed to bother her; she would smile and hug us (even when she grew painfully thin) and sit in the rocking chair by the couch, where she always sat. Carlee and Jolee would move from lap to lap as we talked about the Bible and shared prayer requests; sometimes they'd sit together on the couch, or curl up in the bean bag chair with Stacie, or snuggle up in Calvin's lap, or rub Brad's head when he had just shaved it. Jolee passed out the Dixie cups for communion, and was always more than willing to eat the leftover bread. They were just so fresh and real - and I loved getting to know them.

We met at the Fuquas' last week and the Watsons' this week (the Donagheys have been in and out of town), and both times we've spent a while talking about Kerri and grieving for her. We talked about hurt, anger, sadness; how we're going to treat Kerri's estranged husband, Tony; how we feel for the girls; lots of the little painful things that go with grief. But I think the most poignant summation of our grief came from Beth Butcher, age 12.

Beth had misheard her mother, Marlene, telling Sarah, Beth's sister, about Kerri's death. Later she said, "Mom, you can tell me. I won't be sad," thinking a neighbor's dog (named Keiko) had died. Marlene looked at Beth and said, "No, Kerri died." Beth looked at her mom for a moment, confused. When she was telling this story to our Lifeteam, she paused, looked at all of us, and said, "I thought, 'No way. That didn't happen. Kerri wasn't s'posed to die. She was s'posed to live.'"

I think Beth is right. Kerri was supposed to live. To raise her girls until they became young women and left to fly out on their own. To worship and love on people at Highland, where she was always so happy. To keep on shining love to everyone she met. (Who else do you know that would talk to a Verizon telemarketer about Jesus, and later send him a Bible - while fighting melanoma and trying to mother two little girls?)

Kerri was supposed to live. And we miss her, and the grief goes far deeper for some than it does for me. There will be a hole in our Lifeteam for a long time (though we are hoping to see the girls, and maybe Tony, now and then). But we have to believe that it's okay that she's not here now. We have to believe that she's up in heaven, with Jesus, radiating the same genuine joy and freshness she always did. And we have to believe that God's going to take care of the rest of us, who are still here looking up at the sky, wondering why.


Blogger Candy said...

Yes, Katie, we still have to believe. And we still have to live. That's the key. Maybe we can all try to live a little more like Kerri did.

8:41 AM  

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