A couple of weeks ago, someone asked the question, "Who do you wanna spend time hanging out with in Heaven?"
At first, I didn't know. My Grandma? My Grandpa? Yes, without a doubt. But I felt like those answers didn't count, because they're givens.
Then it dawned on me: Donna. I would wanna hang out with her.
Donna was my friend. She was everyone's friend. She was quick-witted and punny, intelligent and wise, giving and nurturing. It's easy to paint someone who's passed on in a glowing light, but I assure you that Donna's life WAS just that. Glowing. She lived. She shared. She made an impact.
In fact, today, two years to the day after pancreatic cancer robbed her of that life, her glow still warms. People who never knew her... know her. Because she was here. She lived. She shared. She made an impact.
One of the best decisions I ever, EVER made was to drag myself and two comrades to Manitoba. I'd never met Donna face to face before that epic roadtrip, but I loved her just the same. Meeting her was like being with an old friend. We fell into comfortable, easy conversation that was saturated with laughter despite the sorrow. I sat at her bedside, like a kid in a candy store, thumbing through her artwork, and gasping with disbelief when she kept saying, "Take more. No, really. I want you to have it."
I met Rick, her beloved husband, on that trip. Since, we've formed a friendship that I can't quite define. We keep in touch, and he routinely emails me just when I need a lift. He's good like that. He knows. He lives and shares and makes an impact, just like Donna did. I keep waiting for the day he'll show up at my door. (Hey Rick - I rode around town today with my car windows down, 'cause it has finally cooled off here. It was only 91 degrees F!) ;)
I only spent time with Donna face to face in real life for a total of about 3 hours. There wasn't time to play with paper, or to learn her braiding technique, or how to shade with tiny dots of ink, or any of the other myriad of talents she possessed. There was only time to laugh. And hug. And talk. And cry. And be.
And so it's Donna I want to hang out with in Heaven.
I'll bring the supplies, Donna, and the camera.
You just make sure we each have a 6-foot table of our own, and plenty of good lighting.
(((((Rick, Diana and Paige)))))
You can read more about Donna and the road trip here.