I’m still sitting here somewhat stunned to hear of the sudden loss of a friend; she was young, vibrant, creative, beautiful inside and out. She was a loving and blessed mommy to beautiful Mari, and awesome wife to Casey. Our paths have not crossed for a couple of years (aside from social media) and I didn’t realize how hard I’d take the news. Losing someone is never easy. The circumstances just suck. The disease that she had, Cystic Fibrosis, really sucks, literally… and with a heavy heart, I share that it sucked the life out of her. 

I’m saddened because we didn’t keep in touch. I followed her blog The Wooden Hearts and kept up with her digitally. It’s really not the same as hearing your friend laugh or hugging her when she is hurting. Life happens; We grow, we learn, we love, and sometimes, we slip through the cracks of keeping in touch. That’s really no excuse on my part, but it’s what happened. It’s a terrible feeling, knowing that you didn’t get to tell someone how awesome they were, or how blessed you were to have known them. Hope was amazing.

I’m so grateful that she began writing and that she shared her heart. I hope that her past writings will continue to bring hope and comfort to those that are grieving. Her love for Casey and Mari, along with her family and friends shines through her blog and it makes me smile. She’s left us with a little piece of her heart online. 

Hope truly embodied the love and grace of Jesus. She is a soul that I will never forget. There was a period in time when we were closer, attended the same church and were often at her home for Bible study and worship. The struggles and joys that life brought kept us close. We shared a passion for beauty and fashion, along with a great love and dedication to serving others and spreading Love. She loved children and always was so loving on our kids. My heart rejoiced when I found out that she and Casey would be adding a baby girl to their family, precious little Mari. She had the best birthday present that year! What a blessing!

Her heart was full of gold and strength. She was so brave, fought daily, and you never would have known it. I was re-reading her blog tonight and it brought me again to tears. It’s all there, her heart… her life. I know that she inspired so many, and was loved by everyone that came across her path. There, you can read her thoughts and heart on the journey that she and Casey went on as they waited for their precious baby girl, catch up on her life weekly with her picture posts, and just see what she was up to. You could count on her to crack you up or snap her sarcastic little wit at you. She was awesome, rad, epic.

She was surrounded by love and she loved fiercely. There are no words that I can give to bring comfort, except that I, too, am heartbroken for the loss of a sweet soul here on this side. Hope is now at peace, free of pain, free of suffering. No more nebulizers or breathing treatments, no more check-ups, no more hospitalization, needles, medication. That’s all that seems to sooth the sting… in my heart of hearts, I know that she’s free.

Rest in peace sweet Hope. You are now resting in the arms of your Savior and I am pretty sure you’re making him laugh and getting your dance on. Your light will continue to shine and the love and grace that you showered on all of us while we knew each other in this life will never be forgotten. Run, jump, dance… you’ll never have to worry about catching your breath again.

Love you dearly.

*all images are from Hope’s blog The Wooden Hearts. If you get a moment or want to hear her heart, go there.  I will miss her updates.