Leah Viker

Wife, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Cousin, Friend and as sure as the sun is burning bright, even while you do not see its light, this girl was made of all the elements – earth, water, wind and an extra measure of fire. Spitfire.

My cousin Leah passed away today after a lengthy and brave battle. Even during the times of trench warfare, she held fast to her spitfire response to what life delivered. To be sure, even in light of the very difficult hand she was dealt with her illness, she abounded in the blessings and talents she had in greater measure and the deep affection from those most precious to her.  Her extraordinarily bright and creative daughter Isabella was her pride and joy. She beamed to share with me, all of the things Isabella was eagerly learning and accomplishing. 

Leah had a laugh that could fill you head to toe and a sense of humor that was constantly at the ready and quick as a lightening strike. I always imagined her being pulled up out of an ancient volcano, long dark curls framing eyes that see what is over the horizon. She brought this burst of life with her into every room. I imagine her already having found her way to the peace that can only come from God. No matter the amount of suffering or pain that proceeds a departure from this life, there is nothing happy about the absence of someone loved and already missed, the moment they depart. Though there is comfort in knowing a weary traveler has finally found rest, there is an absence which cannot be filled, cannot be consoled, cannot be understood in our flesh. Though I take great comfort in the Hope found in Christ, my heart rages against death. For grief is left in the moments which used to be filled with life.

I pray for her husband and her daughter. I pray Isabella recognize the relationship she has with her mother, does not go into the grave, but instead continues in her heart and in her mind. With each moment, when she finds her heart breaking with a wish to share a big event or a closely held thought or a heartbreak or news of a milestone, I pray that in the break, she can sense the building of a new ground on which they still stand. And each time Isabella shares a story of her Mom, may she grow in appreciation and closeness to the woman who guarded, protected, loved and cherished her from the moment they met. May she continually be surprised to find little things in herself which can bring a smile or a laugh to realize they are lasting remembrances of her extraordinary Mother. 

I cannot imagine more thoughtful or true words to describe the losses I have had and my hope is that they can be a comfort to this family of mine, who hold their hearts in their hands in search for understanding and how tomorrow can even begin.

“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve — even in pain — the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain”.  ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer

March 26th’ 2020 – Rest in Peace Dear

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