Lessons Learned Through the Death of a Friend

When I was around 10 or so, I picked up the phone when it rang. The voice on the other end told me my mother’s friend had passed away from breast cancer. I took a message for my mom because she was on bed rest from a back injury. After telling my mom the message, I lost it. I remember crying so hard. I didn’t even really know this person, but was so sad. Sad for her family, her children, and for my mom.

Flash forward to present day.

Now, I am the adult receiving a message that my friend has passed away from leukemia. I was almost the same age as my mom when she lost her friend. You see, I have never lost anyone close to me. I had two great-grandmas pass away when I was young. I remember being sad and crying, but it was different this time. My two great-grandmas lived lives filled with raising children, having grand-kids, and great-grand-kids. They lived many memory-filled years. In my mind, great-grandmas are going to die.

A 30 year old wife and mother of two precious boys should get to live to become a great-grandma too.

Now that I was a mother, death was much more real to me. I had this incredible heartache for my friend, her husband, and her two little boys. I did not know I was capable of feeling the sort of sadness that overcame me when she died.  She is happy in Heaven. I do have solace knowing she loved the Lord.

Even knowing all of that, I have felt lost without her lately. She would not want me to be sad, but sometimes I just need to be and know that it’s OK to feel that way. 

Lessons Learned through the Death of a Friend

She came over and I taught her how to make homemade applesauce. We would tell our husbands we were going to workout, but sometimes we would find ourselves at a coffee shop eating cookie dough. We laughed when we decided to look at the ingredients of the cookie dough and read that the cookie dough had margarine in it. So we decided from that point on we could only eat the cookie dough made with real butter. Because let’s face it, margarine is what makes the cookie dough unhealthy

One spring, we planted a garden together on a rather cold and dreary day. It was really too cold to plant a garden but it was just time we could do it together. She gave me the confidence to do my first Crossfit Competition. We actually did a couple competitions together. We went to Chicago and Des Moines. I remember we were going to do another competition but she had to back out because she was pregnant with their second child.  She still came and cheered so loud for us!

Lessons Learned Through Death

I miss her. I miss the friendship. She pops up in my mind multiple times a day for various reasons. One conversation is etched into my mind. We were at her house and she was commenting how tired she was lately. After all, she had just had a baby and also a two year old son she was doting over. So neither her or I thought much of her tiredness. I remember the exact place when she called me to tell me they thought she had leukemia. I was in the Hobby Lobby parking lot. She had a quiver in her voice but also a calmness to her words. 

She said, “Everything will be fine.”

I know that now, but I didn’t feel that way then. She taught me to persevere through whatever life gives you. She made the best of every situation. She couldn’t go to the gym, so she worked out in her hospital room. Jeremiah 29:11 was printed around her walls of her hospital room.  She was an inspiration to everyone she met. 

I have this void in my life where I want her to still be present on this earth. I miss her infectious laugh and her bright smile that easily could light up a room. She is still in my favorite contacts on my phone, just so I can see her picture. 

Now, as a 33 year old adult, I know that I will join her in Heaven one day. Until then, her death has helped me to become a better mother. Her earthly death has helped me to love my children and husband a little deeper, knowing we are not guaranteed another tomorrow. I remember her and think, “What would Tiffany do?” Open a Bible? Say a Prayer? I find myself doing more of these things after her passing. 

Lessons Learned Through Death

This post is for you my sweet and dearest friend. Thank you for continuing to teach me without being present on this earth.  #Cling2Christ


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Ashley lives in a world of organized chaos. She lives by her color-coded calendar and love of bullet-coffee. Ashley and her husband, Tom, have been married for 10 years. They have four, crazy beautiful children: Jordan (11), Nina (9), William (7), and Rico (6). They keep busy taking kids between sports and church activities. Did she mention they also have 3 dogs, an indoor cat, and several outdoor kitties? It just adds to the marvelous chaos that is The Caton Family! In addition, Ashley also works part time as a NICU nurse.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Ashley,

    Thank you for this beautiful tribute. Tiffany loved you deeply and was always so proud of you whether it was as a mom, friend, Crossfit competitor, whatever. It’s so nice to hear others continue to talk about Tiffany and share stories about her. Every time I see you, I think of her. My girls talk about heaven almost everyday and we can’t wait to all be together again.

    Love,
    Cheryl

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