The Unfinished Sentence

My oldest daughter and I had been at the funeral for about 10 minutes when he sought us out and found us. I saw him walk by before he saw us. It was easy to tell he was looking for someone, but I didn’t think he was looking for my 10-year-old daughter or myself.

But when he made eye contact with us, he stopped in his tracks and made his way over to us, saying “I have something I need to give to your girls.”

I couldn’t imagine what it would be. He hurried out of the main room and left, leaving my daughter and I wondering what would be so important to give to us on this day?

We were at the funeral home, remembering our sweet neighbor and church friend. She and I spent hours together working on missions projects, and our relationship was one that spanned decades, but was the sweetest of friendships. My girls felt the same about her. The fact that she lived in our neighborhood and was only a bike ride away for my kids was just a little extra icing on top of an already sweet friendship.

The cancer diagnosis surprised us all, and progressed rapidly, giving months between the diagnosis and death.

So my oldest daughter and I were at the funeral, remembering and loving the lady who had always loved us so well. But what could her husband of almost 45 years be giving to my girls on this day? We both waited, and wondered. He came back just minutes later, with a small note card in his hand.

“This was the last thing she ever wrote,” he explained.

He pressed the card into my daughter’s hand and went back to the front, where people waited to greet him and give him their condolences.

My daughter and I sat down, hands shaking, eyes filling with tears, and read the last words of our sweet friend.

The note started out thanking my girls for the Valentine’s Day cards they had decorated her bedroom with. The cancer had left her bound to her bed and they drew about a dozen Valentine’s Day cards with Bible verses and hearts for her room. When the card got to the middle, she said “I hope you always …..”

And that’s where the card stopped.

The shaky handwriting ended, the note incomplete, cancer stealing her life before she could finish her last written words. Like death always does, it stole away life mid-sentence, leaving the last sentence undone and incomplete, and leaving us wondering what she would have written had she finished.

As I write these words, it’s been exactly one year since her passing from this life to the next.

We saved the note. Most importantly, we saved her memory in our hearts.

When she finished reading the letter, my curious daughter had so many questions: “What does she hope we always do, mom? Why didn’t she finish the sentence? What would she have wanted for us?”

I couldn’t answer a single question.

I whispered to my daughter the only words I knew to be true. “I have no idea what she wanted to say to you girls, but I know she would have hoped for the best for you, and that you would give your best to others, like you gave her.”

The unfinished sentence still rings in our ears even a year later. Have we lived up to what she hoped for us? Have we loved as well as she would have wanted us to? Have my girls been as kind to others as they were to her?

There’s so many ways to end her unfinished sentence. So many phrases that would have completed the sentence and shared her dreams for my girls. Instead, we are left wondering what she wished, but knowing in our hearts that we can complete her sentence with loving others well and sharing our hearts with friends like she shared her heart with our family.

The unfinished message is a story we are still writing. She would have loved to know we are finishing her sentence in the best ways we know. That we are living with her words ringing in our ears and filing our hearts. POV