I really enjoy spending time with Verna and Danielle's family. It really makes me think of her a lot because I see so much of her in each of them. Though my heart aches knowing that I can't giggle with her while sitting on the couch there, I know that she is there with us and I feel blessed to have grown closer to her family over the past year. They are a wonderful family and I am blessed to call them friends.
Tommorrow (Today by the time I actually post this) is Danielle's 26th birthday. She will be having an extra special birthday this year because she gets to spend it with Jesus and I'm sure that He will really help her celebrate. It seems so strange that only a year ago today, I was making sure my bases were covered and determined that Danielle's birthday would not be taken for granted. Mom and I got online on November 1st of 05 and found a florist to deliver birthday flowers to her work in Knoxville. I kept calling her and asking if anything had arrived and she was like, "Lesha, what did you do?" She was so surprised to get those flowers and I was so glad that she liked them. She told me that she was gonna beat me up for doing that and that told me all I needed to know about her joy in receiving them.
Today also marks a year ago that she spent, what would be her last date with Todd, her life long love interest. She was crazy about him and Lord knows that we shared countless nights doing P.I. work in Middlesboro looking for him. She really cared about him, more than I think he will ever realize. So much so that she told me right before Halloween of 05 that she wanted him to be happy and with someone who treated him right and that was Godly even if that person wasn't her.
On that last date, she went out to eat with him in Knoxville and bragged about her flowers. She also went with him to the hospital to visit his very sick cousin who was facing a serious surgery. "Alesha, I don't know what came over me" she said. "I just couldn't leave that hospital room without praying for his cousin and it was just the best feeling. I asked everyone to hold hands and I prayed aloud for God's hand to be upon her. Tears rolled down my face and everyone in the room was crying. When I looked up, Todd was just looking at me with tears in amazement," she explained. Wow, what a clue that my best friend had given me. She was growing even closer to God. I was so blessed to witness it daily and to encourage her. It amazes me that I didn't realize that she was growing close to Him, so that she could be even more ready to go home to Him.
A year ago this month, I got married. The month of November will always be bittersweet for me. There's Danielle's birthday on the 1st, my bachelorette party on the 12th, my wedding on the 19th, her homecoming in Heaven on the 30th and lots of random memories staggered in between. Oh how blessed I am that God gave her to me for a month longer to get to have those precious memories! How could I have had a happy wedding without her there? God let me have those memories. God gave me those amazing thoughts those last few months, thoughts of wonder and awe that I actually had been blessed with such a Godly, intimate friendship that I had prayed and longed for for so long. I praise Him for every second that we shared and every memory that I have in my heart that contains her.
I could elaborate even more and probably end up bawling even worse within seconds, but I feel like I've said enough for now. My heart is heavy as the clock turns 12am. I know that this will be a happy yet hard month for me to go through. Even more so than me, I know that the Bowman family will have lots of ups and downs this month even if no one sees it behind their smiles. Please friends, remember those who love, and I say that in the present tense, Danielle. Pray that God will bless us this month and every day thereafter with peace and warmth knowing that she is enjoying time with Him. Pray that He drenches our hearts and minds with memories of her that just help ease the pain in some way, shape or form.
If you are reading this and you know Danielle, take a moment and reflect on her life. And examine yours, if you were to go home right now, where would your home be? I have no doubt that Danielle's home is Heaven because I saw the evidence daily in her life, especially in her final months on earth. Be sure friends that you can say that your home will be Heaven. Don't let small details that won't matter in the end keep you from calling Heaven your eternal home.
To Danielle, Happy Birthday my precious pal! I miss your presence and your big heart. I miss our P.I. work and our worship experiences, especially Wed. nights! Most of all, I miss your big smile and that silly laugh. No, Danielle, your skin doesn't look green and no your ears aren't sticking out. You are spending this 26th birthday in perfection, without worries or fears, and with your Heavenly Father. Today, on your 26th birthday, may we all celebrate, Danielle Lilly Bowman is resting in the arms of Jesus. Happy Birthday my one and only Best Friend.
In Jesus' Love,