The 12th of November 2006 is the day that my little sister Deborah Ruth left this world leaving us only with memories of her. It was a shock to the whole family. Thankfully the rest of the family were able to put down in words or speak at her memorial service. But to this day I have had a really hard time even thinking what I would have said or later how to write something down. The memories have always been so deep and the confusion of the loss I have never been able to really get past.
For the past eight years I have thought many times what I could do as a memorial to her. Then when I was married I decided I would give my daughter one of my sister’s names. A little more than a year before my daughter was born my older sister had her daughter and used the name Ruth for her daughter’s middle name. I had often thought to do the same because for me the name Ruth didn’t hold as much memory. Not wanting to copy what my sister had done my wife and I talked about it and decided to use Deborah and after much consideration decided to use it as our daughter’s middle name. I don’t know that this has taken the sting of the memories away or awoken again the love I had and have for my sister.
During the time of Deborah’s passing I heard the song “Untitled Hymn” by Chris Rice. It said to me so much of the memory I had of my sister and her relationship with God and her struggle she faced because of her kidney failure. She was always relying on medication and machines to help her even when they couldn’t. Each of verse of the song reminds us with every stage of our life to rely on Jesus and to live!
v1. Weak and wounded sinner — Come to Jesus and live!
v2. Now your burden’s lifted — Sing to Jesus and live!
v3. And like a newborn baby — Fall on Jesus and live!
v4. Sometimes the way is lonely — Cry to Jesus and live!
v5. O, and when the love spills over — Dance for Jesus and live!
This is how I saw her live her life in spite of everything in life that happened. The final verse expresses how I know she left this world:
v6. And with your final heartbeat
Kiss the world goodbye
Then go in peace, and laugh on Glory’s side, and
Fly to Jesus and live!
Life doesn’t end with the final heartbeat. Deborah knew that and she lives now not only in our memories but very much in our memories. I often see my daughters name written on official papers and her middle and last name are together on one line and it is always a strong reminder and brings the emotion of memories flooding in.
I miss Deborah very much and as we remember her on March 24th what would have been her 33rd birthday I want to say I love you Deborah. I pray and hope that I can raise my daughter to have the child like faith in life and God that I always saw in you. You are thought about and remembered daily for the past eight years and even more now that Izabellah shares your name. Until that day that we meet again in the glory of our Creator you are always in my heart.