Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kristi's Journal

I didn't even know that Kristi kept a journal until a few months ago. Kristi is my husband's little sister, my sister-in-law and this week marks the anniversary of her death a year ago. A few months ago, my husband came home from his parent's house and told me that Kristi had written a journal during her fight with cancer and when we wanted to read it, we could. I wasn't sure at first if I even wanted to, it was her's, her journal, her words and most intimate thoughts. Did she even want this passed around for the family to read as was happening now? But as December drew on and January approached, I wanted to. Her death was a struggle for all of us and in some way, I hoped reading her words would give comfort and clarity to the meaning of a life taken so early and in such a torturous way as cancer.

My husband and I began the new year with Kristi's journal. Fifty something handwritten pages of Kristi's words pinned together with a paperclip in a simple file folder. We decided to read it together and memorialize her words in a keepsake for her closest of family members. While I began with apprehension of disrespecting her privacy, her so called journal was more of a testimony. She did not write it for herself, she wrote it for others to know about God's sufficient grace and unfailing faithfulness. My husband read and I typed for a few days until all of her words were within a document on my computer. Some periods of this process were shortened by tears and cracked voices as we read her words aloud. While it did not take that long, the emotions involved made it a tiresome project, but one that we felt was necessary. Maybe not for those family members we planned to distribute the booklets too, but maybe necessary for us. Her fifty plus pages became twenty five typed pages that I embellished with pictures of Kristi, her husband, children, parents and other family members. While I have a second job in marketing which involves graphic design and publications, this project was by far the most important publication I have ever worked on. It was beyond close to my heart, beyond necessary and I felt a huge responsibility to Kristi to do it in a way that she would hand and to handle her words with care.

It took three weeks to complete, two issues of reformatting to meet my perfectionist and specific desires and we finally took Kristi's Journal to the printer this past weekend. After additional edits to the format and a reprint due to the printer's errors, we finally left the retail chain with seven copies of Kristi's Journal; seven copies of her words, her thoughts, favorite scriptures and prayers. I wanted to distribute the copies to her husband, parents, children and other brother before the 26th. I don't know what is customary on the anniversary of someones death as Kristi is the closest family member I have had to endure the loss of. I know some families gather around a gravestone and change out flowers, but I felt like memorializing her words in a keepsake were a better way to pay tribute to her and pass on to her future generations. I hope that her children, grandchildren and others will find comfort in the words she left for us, the words that I found comfort in, that remind me of her voice, her smile and the light that she held in her eyes. Though she is not here with us, she will live forever in our hearts, our memories and the words of her testimony.

1 comment:

  1. That is a really nice tribute to her. I am sure it was a lot of work, but I know her family will appreciate the effort. So good of you.


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