I don't think there's anything on this planet that more trumpets life than the sunflower. For me that's because of the reason behind its name. Not because it looks like the sun but because it follows the sun. During the course of the day, the head tracks the journey of the sun across the sky. A satellite dish for sunshine. Wherever light is, no matter how weak, these flowers will find it. And that's such an admirable thing. And such a lesson in life." ~ Calendar Girls, 2003

Well, it happened.
That dreaded event that lurks in the back of the mind 
of any expat living far away from their home country, 
like a black cloud just waiting to cover up a sunny day and swallow it whole.

Fighting evil cancer for months, we weren’t completely caught off guard when we received word Ren Man’s mom had been rushed to the hospital.  Away on business at the time, travel options were limited, adding a full day to the whole process, and two phone calls later she was gone, preventing him from making it home in time to kiss her good-bye.

When you make the choice to live so far away from home, 
a world quite comfortable with everything instant, disappears from one’s mindset. Not having any direct flights from Aberdeen to the U.S.A., we are mentally prepared for being two flights away from our loved ones. 
The additional flight from Baku added even more stress to this whole grieving process.

I wish I could tell you we arrived in time to help with planning her ‘celebration of life’.  
Unfortunately, I feel like we were only able to pick up a few loose ends here and there as we watched Ren Man’s sisters beautifully and heroically make it happen.  
While looking through some of his mom’s notes over the past few months, 
they found a list of what she wanted or didn’t want at her funeral.  
Last on the list was ‘no black’. 
Her wish was honored 
as brightly dressed friends and family gathered together 
surrounded by sunflowers, 
her favorite.

My one regret is not thanking her for always modeling what a good mother-in-law looks like. Hearing horror stories of friends, and recently becoming a MIL myself, I am learning just how fragile this relationship can be
 and should be nurtured and treated with care.
I count myself very fortunate indeed, for this MIL blessing from God.
we are back in Aberdeen,
 acutely aware of God’s healing grace and like the sunflower,
absorbing the sunshine.

Happy Thursday.

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