Vicki was a special friend of mine. I knew her for only a few short years, but we developed a bond out of our love of harassing one another and making jokes at the others expense, especially at church. Even in her tough times her special brand of humor made me laugh when others might not get it. She spoke openly with me about the trials she was going through and I was able to do the same with her.
Her mother would refer to us as twins and that’s something I won’t forget. Vicki was the same age as my real sister, just three years younger than myself. I’m also the same age as her brother.
I think part of our bond was built on an unspoken connection of personal past and present direction. Of all the things we had been through and after all the mistakes, we had been accepted as part of a bigger family. That family is Restoration House, our church. While church is supposed to be a safe haven, it can be uncomfortable for those with a past. Those of us who are still making mistakes. We often feel like we are being looked down on or being judged. No one’s perfect and that’s why we need Jesus and salvation.
Restoration House has been lovingly referred to as the “church/island of misfit toys”. Vicki was the “Dolly for Sue” to my “Spotted Elephant”. We bonded over the knowledge that we didn’t have our act together, but we were still doing our best to move forward and help others.
I’ll never forget a few weeks after my daughter was born we took her to church for the first time. Vicki was one of the first to come up to me and my wife at the time Liz, and with barely a word to us picked my daughter Topanga up and carried her off like she was her own. The way her smile lit up her face as she snuggled the baby is an image I won’t forget and can be seen above.
While the loss of my friend was a shock, in the back of my mind I knew it was a possability, one that I tried not to think about. I’ll admit when I first got the news my first reaction was anger. Then I immediately went and hugged my kids. Over the past few days I’ve gone through a lot of emotions. It took me over 24 hours to reach out to Vicki’s mom after I originally got the news because I didn’t want to admit to myself that it was a reality. Vicki was a daughter, a sister, and a mother and now she’s gone.
The funeral services haven’t happened yet, but the toughest moment so far since originally finding out was church on Sunday. As a small church of less than 50 people we all know each other. Also as a relatively new church that is only 3 and a half years old this was our first major loss, and everyone was grieving. Only a week prior Vicki had been helping in the kitchen with her mother. She was sitting at the table after service a few weeks prior talking to the pastor about things needed to help people that are in situations similar to what she had been through. Now that seat in the front corner is empty.
I know that I’ll see my friend again, but I will miss her greatly during the wait til that day comes.