|MB, Lesley & Tricia- Christmas 2008|
On Sunday morning, Tricia and I heard that our dear friend, Lesley Fay Dingwall, had passed away into eternity the evening previous.
|Lesley with her cowgirl hat :-)|
I can't begin to tell you what emotions and feelings have surfaced this week...
I am just so thankful to know that Les believed in Jesus as her Savior, and that right now, she is in heaven. She experienced more heartache, devastation, hurt, rejection,abuse, misunderstanding, harm, and health issues than anyone else I have ever known in real life. At times her life was so overwhelmingly disastrous, I wondered how long God would keep her alive before taking her home.
On her "going Home" day, Lesley was walking her beloved Harley (her rescued German Shepherd/Rottweiler mix), and he apparently ran out into the path of a truck. Of course, Lesley went after him, knowing her and her protective instincts for anyone and everything OTHER than her own self. Harley was killed on impact, and Lesley was rendered unconscious and rushed to Dothan where she died several hours later from head injuries.
|Les with Mark, Bobby's first baby|
I really have had such a hectic and stressful week, that it had not sunk into my consciousness until Mama, Tricia, and I drove to Chipley for her memorial service on Friday. I could feel the feeling of abject loss creeping over me, that same feeling I felt when Daddy slipped away from us three years ago. Her mama Leslie hugged our necks as we walked in the door of the church and told us that Lesley would be glad that we were there. The church fed everyone lunch as Leslie and John greeted their deaf friends.
Les was cremated, appropriately. She had told T & me that she wanted that when she went. I was glad that they did it, for her sake.
A couple- friends of Les's parents- spoke/signed, as did the pastor of their church. Lesley had told us about them before. I thought is was so strange that people who did not really know her were the ones allowed to eulogize her. Two songs were played, meaningful ones to her mom. And then the family said their goodbyes and the rest of the mourners were ushered out.
Lindsey Yoder & Sara Welton, both her friends from the late 90s at Indy, and Danielle StOnge Horton came in for the service as well. It was great to hug both Ben & Johnny's necks, meet their significant others, and see wee Katelyn (Ben's 5 mo. old baby girl) for the first time. Lesley never got to see her. :-( Tricia and I think that maybe Johnny's Shaena is expecting. Of course, Bobby & Ira were not able to come in from Russia with their babies, Marks & Nikki; I think they will be forever in denial over her death. I am reminded to pray for all of them so often!
I was pretty worked up by the time the memorial service was all over. It certainly did not reflect the complex and oh-so-wonderful girl that we all knew. Why didn't they let those of us who loved her say something? Shaena, Johnny's gf, said that you could tell the people hadn't handled death very often. After the service, I was just ticked off and sobbing. I couldn't just leave. It all just wasn't enough.
So we drove around the backside of the church in time to see the family walking back in from the graveyard and waited a bit in the truck. Then T & I walked back to the crest of the hill that overlooked the woods, the little crescent of land that she was going to be buried in. The pastor stood there reverently.
Tricia and I cried as the funeral home guy uncovered the hole, lowered her little lavender casket into it, and began to fill it up with red clay dirt. After patting down the grass again, they both left, leaving the two of us to say our goodbyes. I took some pictures, just for our memories and not to be shared. It was all just too private. I'm glad I took my hankie.
Seeing her buried was both too much and just enough, all at the same time.
I'm glad we held back and did it; maybe it will help to provide more closure for me, I don't know.
Merciful God, I know You do all things well!
And I have just realized that Lesley passed away almost on the anniversary of the first day that we met her, at the start in Equip 2 in 1996, sixteen years ago. I am so glad that she died with HOPE for a future in her heart, poor baby. Her life was too hard.
More later...my heart is too full.