Last Thursday night I got a call that my cousin Shelley had passed away. She was 36. We don't know many details yet and may never really understand what happened.
Tonight our family got together to celebrate her life. We laughed a lot, which might seem strange to those who didn't know Shelley or the members of my family. As the kids all played at the park, the family sat around a table of food, remembering.
I grew up with Shelley and there was never a dull moment. She had a unique spark, a love of the written word and opinion's about everything. In fact, my last conversation with her was about baby names. Her view of the world was one of a kind, and so was she. She was smart and fearless to a fault, but broken too.
Shelley's story didn't end how I think it should have. She has been struggling for the last several years with illness and I never had the pleasure of watching her become everything I think she could have been. Sometimes it feels a little unfair that God took her before she had a chance to really get her life together.
Tonight I reflect on the shortness of life, the fact it doesn't end "happily ever after" here on Earth. I place my hope in the One who wrote our stories before we were here, who loves and knows every hair on our heads. I think of Shelley, walking with Jesus, and know her story ended just how He knew it would.