Written By Missy Nicholas
Greeta and Jami had been friends since childhood and now were pregnant with boys, due on the same day. Conversations assured the strengthening of their bond as they planned to raise their sons together, as friends. I had not known either of them long and did not know either of them well; I was merely a witness of what was about to unfold. I met Greeta after she found out that she would not raise her son because of a terminal prognosis. He would only live for hours, if he lived at all. She would love him for as long as she was given–just 8 hours after his birth.
Jami’s pregnancy resulted in a beautiful baby boy–a drastic difference shattering all of those fantastic fantasies of fun. Instead of walking the same path, it seemed that a crossroads was forcing them to go different directions. Jami organized for the normal things a new baby brings. Greeta, bulldozed over with loss, was preparing for a road of grief.
Most friendships fall apart here. Many relationships end when there is still affection left to be shared. We are not skilled at being in someone else’s reality when it is different from our own. We prefer swimming in the warm waters of comfortable emotions in order to keep our friendships intact. The difference between what Greeta and Jami had planned and what occurred seemed too drastic to comprehend. Impossible, it would seem, to move through it together while remaining present in each others lives. It’s often easier to allow these kind of differences to create distance and let the relationship fade into a memory with nobody to blame other than life’s tragic turns. It wouldn’t have been the first relationship lost at the crossroads of “I don’t know what to say,” and “I don’t know what to do.” And yet, what I witnessed between these two friends has forever changed my heart and life regarding love in the differences.
Imagine a new mom stepping out of her euphoria after childbirth enough to sit with her friend in grief because she just lost what you brought home. Jami could have stayed home in the joy of her new nursery, relishing the gift of health. Instead, she showed up for Greeta in ways nobody else could have. Without knowing what to do or what to say, Jami bridged the gap between gratitude and grief simply by just being there. Later, she was brave enough through tears to ask Greeta to be the caregiver for her son, Jericho when she returned to work. An uncertain and potentially damaging conversation.
Yet she extended an invitation to share in the blessing of life to her friend who had been swallowed by the grief of death. Jami took a risk to find the solid ground of friendship instead of allowing it to get lost in the unspoken and assumed.
On the other hand, imagine a grieving mom, who experienced the birth and death of her own son cradling and loving her friend’s baby within days of her own loss. Greeta likely didn’t have words but she was present with Jami in her joy, grateful for what her friend experienced though it was so tragically taken from her. Resentment and bitterness were surely vying for a place in her thoughts, but she welcomed into her heart a healthy baby boy. She allowed herself to sit in the joy of new life with her friend, when grief was still her constant companion. She not only became the primary caregiver when Jami returned to work, but she loved Jericho in ways that only she was able. She loved him despite her grief, and because of her grief–a love so rooted in grace it formed an amazing bond between these families.
I have been just close enough to understand that between these two friends is an intentional and compelling love. The place between them can only be described as holy. Holy, because moving between them is a love that can only be seen as the hand and the heart of God.
Missy Nicholas is a professional psycho-therapist, an amateur photographer and a lifelong writer.
Catch her blog at www.sunsetsandsnowflakes.com
This article was written in early January and we loved it so much, we wanted to share it in our Mother’s Day issue. Two days after Missy published it in her blog, Jericho who is 3 years old was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia. Now these women with their beautiful friendship are arm in arm fighting together again. Jericho recently had an allergic reaction to the chemotherapy, causing him to code in his mother’s arms. After 40 minutes of CPR and 3 days in the ICU, Jericho shocked medical staff with his miraculous comeback. As of the printing of this article only weeks after coding, Jericho is back to his chemotherapy regime. These two women are a living, breathing testimony of love and grace for one another and an example to each of us.
There is a Venmo account for Jericho Roberts, as well as an account at RCB bank in NE Oklahoma (just drop by or mail) if you would like to assist with medical expenses.