Friday the 13th usually brings fear of an unlucky day for folks but for Elizabeth, Friday, May 13, 1960 was her lucky day! It was her birthday!
Five months ago, Friday, January 13, Elizabeth died from a long battle with cancer. All of us who loved her were shocked and left wondering why. Certainly this was not a lucky day for us. How could this woman who was so filled with life and love be gone from us?
Elizabeth was one of those people who loved life, who loved her family, who loved her friends and most of all, loved God. She had a way of making everyone around her smile and feel better about their day. She was a bright light of love and friendship!
“LizBeth” was my oldest friend – since the nursery at Norlina United Methodist Church. Most of my childhood and teenage memories involve her – Sunday School, hours and hours of playing Barbies, UMYF . . .
Most of my “firsts” were shared with her:
- first day of kindergarten and first grade,
- first time singing special music at church (5th grade duet of “Fairest Lord Jesus”),
- first dates (double-dating that was approved by my parents ‘if Elizabeth going’),
- first time seeing a big city (New York City – big deal from 2 teenagers from small town Norlina!)
- first time being away from home at Conference youth events
- first rock concert
We were even pregnant at the same time though we were living 800 miles apart. Our sons (Will and Samuel) are graduating on the same day (today) from NCSU School of Engineering. Younger son, Barnes, graduated this week from Louisburg College.
Many women called Elizabeth their “best friend” because that’s who she was! She made all of her friends feel special.
When Elizabeth died, so many of us were shocked because we didn’t know how sick she really was! She attended my Dad’s funeral in August and came over to my Mom’s house after the services. She didn’t look sick. She didn’t act sick. She didn’t want to be sick! She always wanted to concentrate on how others were doing instead of thinking of her self. She only told me about her illness if I specifically ASKED her. Sometimes folks approach illness with an attitude of “enjoying poor health” – telling everyone how bad they feel. Not Elizabeth.
I was privileged to share some time with her in the last two weeks of her life. I watched as her husband, Henry, cared for her. What a testament to his deep and abiding love for her!
We laughed together, cried together and talked about the hope found in Christ’s resurrection.
Elizabeth asked me the week before she died: “Tricia, what do you tell your church members when they have a terminal illness?”
I said, “There’s always hope. But hope doesn’t mean that everything turns out the way we want it to. Our hope is in Christ. Our hope is in the resurrection. Our hope is in the love that we have for one another and the love God has for us.”
I noticed, during this last week, a sign hanging in Elizabeth’s kitchen with a verse from Hebrews: “We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul.” Yes, this hope is Christ – our anchor!
On the day of her funeral, my friend, Angie, sent me this text: “God loved you big through Elizabeth and that love reminds us of His faithfulness to care for His children until the end.”
So true – God loved us BIG through Elizabeth.
Today on her birthday – I give thanks for the love, the friendship and the witness of Elizabeth. I know that she’s continuing to celebrate her lucky day in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. Happy birthday, LizBeth!