My friend died on Wednesday.

When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer in December, her oncologist asked her what her goals were, what she hoped to do with the time she had left. (I wonder what my answer would be.) Without hesitation, she said that she wanted to see her new little grandchild born, and hoped to see her grandson go on a mission.

The baby was born on Thursday.

Fortunately, her son and daughter-in-law foresaw the possibility that she might not make it to the day of the birth, so they took her to the ultrasound so my friend could "see" her granddaughter, at least in that way.

I can only imagine what the family is feeling -- such sadness at the end of the life of their mother and grandmother. But such joy at the beginning of a new little life.

Doesn't that sort of summarize the bittersweet nature of this mortal existence?

I can't imagine facing the bitter such as death, though, without the knowledge of the plan of salvation, the reality that we existed before we were born and that our spirits live on after we die. That Jesus Christ makes it possible for us to someday be resurrected and live with our families again. That this life has a purpose. That God is real and loves us.

My heart is breaking at the loss of my friend, but at the same time, I rejoice with her as she is reunited with her husband, her mother, and other loved ones who passed on before her. And I carry with me priceless memories and the example she was of faith, selflessness, and love.

Rest in peace, my dear friend, until we meet again. I love you more than words can say.
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