I felt my phone vibrating in the pocket of my jeans yesterday morning around 9:44…I was busy at Mission of Hope. I pulled my phone out to see who it was…it was my friend Dawn. I knew she was at work, and I thought to myself, “Dawn doesn’t call me from her cell phone at work unless something is up.” So I walked away from what I was doing, and answered her call.
She had asked me if I had talked to Ali yet after getting her to school, and I hadn’t. Dawn’s daughter, Callie, one of Ali’s best friends, had called her and told her one of their friends and volleyball teammates had passed away that morning. Another call was coming in on my phone…it was Ali. I hung up with Dawn and picked up Ali’s call. My heart broke when I heard her voice…sharing with me through histerical tears that Katlin had died. Evidently Katlin’s mom, Karen went into her room to wake her up yesterday morning and couldn’t wake her up.
When you get unexpected, devastating news like that, your world stops. Nothing else matters at that point. Questions begin. Your heart falls to your feet, and the grief overtakes you. Ali’s world stopped during first period when the teachers read the email with the devastating news about Katlin. Ali stayed at school with her friends and supported each other with the help of grief couselors and others. She didn’t attend one class the rest of the day.
While Ali decided to stay at school, I stayed at Mission of Hope…fighting back tears the rest of the day, and trying to make sense of the news I had just received. Other parents began to call me and text me…with questions, concerns and grief. How can a beautiful, vibrant and healthy sixteen year-old just pass away? How does something like this happen? My thoughts kept going to Karen and Jerry, Katlin’s parents. I silently prayed for them and their entire family. I can’t even imagine the grief they were and are experiencing. I felt numb, bewildered and confused.
Then my thoughts turned to Ali. This young fifteen year-old has experienced so much death in her life…her grandfather and grandmother (my parents) whom she was so close to, her great-grand parents, Jill our family friend whom Ali dearly loved passed away almost a year ago, Steve our friend who died in August, and now a friend her own age is gone. I didn’t lose someone close to me until I was an adult, and here she is at fifteen, and has already lost so many that she has loved. I couldn’t wait to go pick her up and be with her…to love on her and support her.
It’s unsure yet as to why Katlin died, but God knows. God has a plan with everything and everyone. It doesn’t make sense to us, but to God it does. He sees the big picture…we don’t. His ways aren’t ours. His thoughts aren’t ours. But even knowing these things certainly doesn’t take the pain away. Grief is real…it hurts, it’s awful and it’s not fair. Anyone who’s lost a loved one knows first-hand what it’s like. We can only get through it if we trust God, trust Katlin is in the arms of Jesus and if we love each other and support each other through it.
Please pray for the Abben family…that God would comfort them during this devastating time of grief, and that they would feel His love and peace.