I'm writing my Thursday blog early. These days I stay busy packing. I've made it through the kitchen and dining areas. Today I tackled the boxes underneath our "deacon's bench."
One of the boxes was stuffed with Jolene's artwork. What can I say about the cascade of emotions, seeing her talent for design, her eye for color, her affirmations of faith, her childlike enjoyment of cartoons ...
I thought I would get through the box relatively unscathed until I reached the last piece of paper jammed in the back, the top of the too-tall sheet curled to fit into the space.
A mother looks tenderly at a girl, their silhouettes cut from a Lifeway shopping bag and glued onto a larger piece of paper.
Titled simply "Emahay 2006" in my handwriting. The sole example of my artwork in the bag. A simple gift to the daughter that I loved.
"Emahay." (pronounced "eee-mah-hay") I love you.
"Emahayati" (pronounced "eee-mah-hay-ah-tee") I love you too.
Our own private love language, the two words that survived from Jolene's private childhood language.
I cried. I could cry all day. Friday is the anniversary of Jolene's death. I hope to write a thoughtful perspective on Monday.
But today I simply grieve. Jolene, if you can hear me, emahay.
The Lord's voice comes back. Emahayati.