Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Give and Take of Love

Christina and Aunt Loralee

We are thinking a lot about Christina these days.  I love learning of Christina’s quality relationships with others.  She loved very well and she was very loved.

My sister, Loralee, just celebrated a birthday.  At her birthday dinner this past week, she read a message that Christina sent to her last year. 

Christina wrote, “Life is SO full of surprises, love it!  Maybe you should come for another long visit?  I love having you around!  And I’m not just saying that:)  This is the secret truth, you ready?  You, Aunt Loralee are one of my favorite people in my life.  I don’t even know all the reasons why except you feel safe to me.  I love how you care for the depths of people’s hearts, especially mine when I get to be around you!  I love your questions, I love your nurturing heart in all you do leading to such beautiful servanthood and compassion.  I love your creativity and humor!  I love how you love your kids.  I LOVE how you seek our Lord in such evident ways in your life.  You radiate Jesus so beautifully, Loralee.  I have never shared all that with you, but I saw your text and thought, this would be a perfect time:)  I love you, and hope we do get to see you soon!”

Little did any of us know, Loralee would have an extended stay with us as she cared for us all during Christina’s 11 weeks of Hospice.  Loralee took care of Isaiah much of the time.  She organized and served the food that was graciously provided by our church family for those 3 months.  Loralee saw needs and met them.  She cleaned the Nevill home and the Ahmann home.  She did ALL of our laundry.  She welcomed a few hundred visitors to the Nevill home—fed them, asked them how they were doing with this goodbye to Christina, and loved everyone well.  And perhaps the most lasting gift—she used her gift of photography to chronicle those last 11 weeks.

Christina knew her Aunt Loralee and valued her and wasn’t hesitant to share those feelings.  And she was a bit prophetic about wanting some extended time with Loralee.  Christina got what she wanted.

Also this week, Christina’s 13 year old cousin wrote a poem about Christina.  It was another beautiful declaration of love—this time to Christina.

“If I Could”

If I could, I would walk over every mountainside, just to hear from you again.

If I could, I would visit you at heaven’s gates.

But if the light had not taken you, I could not.

If God permitted a walk along your never-ending dock,
even the birds know I would.

With smiles full of grace we’d meet at heaven’s gates,
just to show you, oh cousin, I would.

But because heaven already knows your name,
I’ll have to wait a few more days.

Until I see you again, just remember, If I could, I would.

--Chloe Van Dyke

P.S.  This poem is dedicated to my cousin Christina, who died after her fourth brain tumor and she left behind her baby boy.  We love you, Christina!  Have fun on your dock!

Chloe and Christina

I am so thankful for all of this love flowing between these people I love so much.  Remembering Christina brings such joy to my heart as I reflect on the quality of relationship she shared with those around her.

 Thank you, Christina,
for investing in others and for 
loving well as you shared your life.


  1. Oh this is so beautiful. The only one I haven't Christina and yet I feel as though I know her. What beautiful souls you all are.

    1. Janice--you and Christina have so much in common--strong, courageous, in love with Jesus. You will have eternity to get to know her!

  2. When I consider Christina and all she was able to do within the years the Lord granted, I am inspired to live with Heaven on my mind. And then when I hear about Loralee's generous heart, helping hands, and loving spirit, I realize that having God's purpose on my mind is so important every day.

    1. Karen, I agree. I was just reading a book that talked about the danger of living life like the "main course" is next week or next year. Really, our "main course" is today. This very moment is the one that God can use for His glory. Love to you!!