Thursday, March 26, 2009

Remembering Barb Gorman

My friend, Barb Gorman, went to be with the Lord yesterday. Late last night when I could not sleep, I wrote this about her. The previous post is an article I wrote after the Gorman's baby girl passed away in October 2007.

Remembering Barb

Rarely do I check email in the middle of the day...especially on my busiest day of the week. But yesterday, Wednesday, March 25, when I came down to the basement to get a school book "something" led me to check my email. There was an email from Barb's husband Chris saying that she had passed away less than an hour before. I sat there in stunned silence because my mind did not want to grasp the truth. Eventually, I made my way upstairs and told the children. That is when the tears came. We did not have any more school that day.

I remember the first time I met Barb. It was at a Sheep meeting (my homeschool ladies group). We were in the same small prayer group and she had recently begun homeschooling her boys. I remember thinking how beautiful she was with her long wavy hair and her smooth skin. I was amazed to learn she had two young adult daughters. She looked far too young to have children that old.

I did not get to know Barb well until she after one of her miscarriages. Since I had, had several miscarriages we had something in common and were able to share heartache and experiences.

I will always remember the day Barb showed up at my door to loan me a stack full of books from her wonderful library. I was delighted, shocked and surprised to see that she was visibly pregnant. We had not actually seen each other for awhile, though we had spoken on the phone and by email, and she surprised me with the fact that she had successfully carried a baby long enough to be able to wear maternity clothes!

Sadly, Barb’s little Faith Evangeline did not survive to birth. Remembering how much it hurt me when people avoided me after we lost our babies, I called her the day after Faith died. We talked for a long time and she shared with me later how much it helped her to talk about it. I remember thinking that the positive side that had come out of losing all my babies was that I understood and could truly empathize when someone else went through the same thing.

The most vivid memory I have of Barb was at Faith’s funeral in October 2007. To this day, I cannot find the right words to describe her sweet, lovely, sad face that day. Her face was beautiful, yet not in the traditional sense of beauty. It showed sorrow, love, peace, tragedy, heartache….all at the same time. Her eyes especially pierced my heart. I can see her face, at her daughter’s funeral, as though it were yesterday.

After little Faith’s funeral, everyone was invited to the Gorman’s house for a meal. Barb shared with me how she had felt she needed more time with little Faith and how gracious those at the funeral home had been about that. She had been able to go to the funeral home the morning of the funeral and hold and rock little Faith and spend some final moments alone with her.

A few weeks after Faith’s death, Barb learned that she had cancer. This time, I felt completely helpless. I knew what to say to a friend who looses a baby. I didn’t have a clue what to say when someone has cancer. I felt that I was not “there” for her in the way I had been when she lost her babies. Yes, I emailed and sent notes and chatted with her when we saw each other, but I just didn’t feel that I was truly the friend to her that I had been before. I just didn’t know what to say or do.

Yet, a week and half before her death, she shared with me how God had sent different people into her life at just the right time. While the Lord has used me to encourage her after Faith died, He used others when she became so ill. It brought me great comfort to hear her say that.

I write articles for a homeschool newsletter and Barb was one of my editors. Through the second half of 2007, when she was pregnant with Faith and after Faith’s birth and death, and all through 2008 while she was battling cancer, Barb continued to faithfully edit my articles. She did not miss a single month. For a writer, my grammar and spelling is atrocious. Barb was wonderful. She caught all my mistakes and she also gave helpful hints and ideas as to how I could make the articles more clear. She also gave me several ideas on how to expound on what I had written. She liked details and personal examples. This month I will be sending in the first article in a year and half of writing them that has not been edited by Barb. This may sound strange, but even as I write this, I wish Barb could edit it. I know she would make it a better article. She always did.

I don’t know whether Barb liked those questionnaires you get by email as much as I did or if she filled them out to be nice but she nearly always returned them. It was fun to learn little things about her that I would have never thought to ask her otherwise. Those questionnaires are the kind that you usually read and delete but how I wish now that I had saved the one’s from Barb.

One thing I will always remember about Barb is how “others oriented” she was. No matter what was going on in her life…a miscarriage, Faith’s death, her cancer…she was always concerned about my life. She always asked about my family and how we were doing. Even during our last phone call, she asked how I was doing.

A week and half before her death, Barb and I talked on the phone for quite a while. Her voice was so quiet and weak that I had to go to my room and shut the door and put my finger in my other ear. We talked of many things. We talked about Faith, about her living children, about how supportive and wonderful her husband was, about financial struggles and about her health. She even wanted to know about my family and how we were doing. I will always treasure the memory of that conversation. Although I didn’t know it at the time, it was our goodbye to each other.

See you later, Barb. This is not goodbye. We are only one breath and heartbeat away from seeing you again. Only this time in Heaven, a place where there will be no tears, no cancer, no babies dying.

You are with your little Faith Evangeline again. What a joyful reunion that must have been. Most of all, you are with your Savior. What a vibrant, joyful testimony you have been for Him. May you rest in His Presence for eternity.

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