I didn’t know when she arrived in Palm Springs she didn’t have long to live.
When she left Birmingham, she was full of life. She seemed certain that she would live a long and happy life.
Up until she arrived, life had been fine. She was well-known. She had a degree from the University of Alabama and had recently quit her job of 8 years to run her new business full-time. Sure, things weren’t perfect. But, she was happy.
With her pencil skirts and heels, she would fill her calendar with meetings and networking opportunities. She had traded her nights out for caring for her son, cleaning, and cooking. I was proud of her.
On the plane, she wrote to me what her intentions were for her time away. She wrote of the learning, growing, and evolving that she so deeply desired. She wrote how she had forgiven herself for leaving her son for an overnight trip for the first time in his life. I read her intentions and smiled at her innocence.
She didn’t know what was happening to her.
She was one of the last in her group to arrive at the Palm Springs mansion. The door swung open, and she immediately felt sick. I wasn’t there to comfort her. I was coming the next day.
As she toured where she would be staying and met the group of amazing people she would spend the weekend with, she smiled with excitement and fear. The feeling from the front door was growing.
That night, as she rummaged through her suitcase anxiety begin to grow as she recognized that she didn’t have one “appropriate” business look. There were no pumps. She had left her blazer thrown across the couch. I had helped her pack. It took weeks, but I had convinced her that she should take flowing dresses and tank tops for the California heat.
Despite her fear, she did it anyway. I found it odd when she finally did give in. I should have known then that something was wrong.
That night, she laid on the floor of the main room of the mansion with her palms to heaven, inhaling in the aroma of sage. Breathing deeply, she visualized a bright white hallway. That hallway had screens and images of a life she had never seen before. When she described the experience to me, she said, it felt like what people must mean when they say “I saw the light.”
She was scared. I could sense it. Something inside felt different. But, despite how she was feeling, she slept soundly that night.
I arrived the next morning. After reading what she had written on the plane, I thought it would be a pleasant surprise. She seemed apprehensive at my presence. I watched her go through the day learning and growing. She was so beautiful when she laughed. She let me join in and we would capture the room together.
Her straight hair fell just below her bare shoulders. I could see her thick brown thighs even though she tugged at the split in her pants to hide them.
That night, we sat beside the pool feeling the coolness of the desert wind. She told me that she felt she didn’t have much time and asked if I would pray with her.
We prayed together asking for understanding of what was happening. God whispered a calming “shhhhhh” with the leaves of the palm trees.
It would be 3 months before I would see her for the last time.
To be continued…