January 1, 2018 by Heather
My friend Mallorie died on Christmas Day. In the wee hours of the morning, something went terribly wrong, and she and the baby growing inside of her passed from this life to the next.
It is confusing, heartbreaking, and unfair. Things no longer make much sense. I am angry, above all other emotions. I find myself scowling instead of crying. I want to flip over a car when I think about the husband, two children, family members and friends left in her wake. I am so mad. So mad I can sit here and cry about it.
I believe there is hope in death because of Jesus, however, that has not stopped my prayers this week from consisting of little more than sitting with my eyes closed, arms crossed, teeth and fists clenched.
Mallorie was my sister’s best friend in the entire world, like a second little sister to me. She was effervescent. The most inclusive, encouraging, hilarious person in any room. Ridiculous and over-the-top in all the best ways. Full of life, excited for each day, and so much fun to be around. The funnest, really.
So, what now? What are we supposed to do? What are we not supposed to do? Do we sit here and drown in our confusion and anger? Do I go outside and actually try to flip over a car? Mallorie would’ve loved to watch me try. Do we live afraid, because my gosh, if this can happen, anything can happen? She seemed so invincible. Do we stay busy, keeping our minds overly-occupied with tasks and to-do’s so we don’t really have to process the grief and rage? Are we allowed to laugh? The world seems so dull without her in it.
On about hour 27 of me being in labor with Parker, Mallorie was in the delivery room and, I guess, grew bored with the Birthing Playlist I had spent hours carefully crafting weeks prior. By that point, things were tense and I had kicked everyone out of the room except for a select few. The epidural wasn’t working and the contractions were mind-numbing. I was miserable.
Right at the peak of a contraction, Mallorie stepped away from the bed and switched the soothing music over to “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls. A lot of it is a blur, but boy do I remember that moment. I had been white-knuckling the left side of the bed for hours and the music startled me so much that I whipped my head over to the right to see Mallorie next to the laptop dancing and laughing with her arms in the air. That girl.
Misery and laughter. Pain and happiness. Death, and yet also life. It is the cruelest thing in the world how they can coexist. It is also beautiful.
If we will let it, death can teach us how to live, and I think that is what Mallorie would want: In the sadness, to find a way to smile. In the darkness, to search for the light (because it is always there, somehow). In the fear, to fake it ’til we make it. And in the pain, gosh darn it, to eventually learn to dance like Mallorie — arms waving and face shining, in the most unexpected moments.