For the last 26 hours or so I have felt numb. I don’t remember the last time I cried so much, and slept so little. I’ve never had to cope with a loss this suddent before. I don’t really think I am coping in all honesty.
I feel sick. I feel sick because I feel like this, yet was nowhere near as close to her as many of my other friends. I feel sick because I don’t feel like I deserve to be crying so much when, in the years I’d known her, I’d taken her for granted so much.
I feel blessed that I got to spend the last year working with, and getting to know her.
I’ve had the privilege of taking part in a theology training course, known as ‘FP’. Every month, for three days, Annie, George Barnett, Dawid Niemiec and I would travel to Wimbledon, meet with other ‘FP-ers’ and learn more about subjects surrounding our faith. It was fantastic for many reasons, but something I drastically underestimated was the importance of the car journeys with Annie to and from the training base. In particular, I can’t shake the memories of our conversations when it was just the two of us travelling to and from Wimbledon. I had such an amazing insight into the Annie I’d never known before.
Annie and I didn’t get on particularly well this time last year. Conversations were strained, and I really believed the training was going to be awful. However, the more I spent time with her, the more I began to appreciate her – I saw an amazing change in her with regards to her faith over the last year. I count myself extremely privileged to have been able to work in the same office as her, to see her constantly praying for people on Friday nights and Sundays, and really begin to get to know her.
This is where the feeling sick bit comes in. There is so much I loved about Annie, but I never told her. The thing is, it’s easy to moan about idiosyncrasies and the like in a person when, in your eyes at least, they’re going to live forever. I feel so much guilt for the things I said – for doubting her a year ago. The only comfort with this is that I did get a chance to tell her on our last journey to training together how immensely impressed I was with the person that she was. But that wasn’t enough. She was astonishing.
Tonight we held a prayer meeting at Kerith Community Church to really reflect on her life. I’ve never seen it so packed out. I’m just overwhelmed by her phenomenal impact on the kids work, the youth groups, the adults. I’m overwhelmed by the impact her death has made on me. It’s amazing how much you realise how much you appreciate people when you lose the opportunity to talk to them.
I keep thinking to myself ‘I’ll tell Annie how much I appreciate her when I see her’. But I’m not going to. I need to process that really. I know that God has a plan for us – for this situation. I can’t understand or fathom it, but I believe it. In all honesty, I don’t feel like I deserve to write about her, but I need to pay tribute to her. I will miss her more than I could possibly have imagined…which again, just makes me pray for the people that knew her far, far better than I did. My prayers are with you.
And the parents. Anne and Bill. My thoughts and prayers are with you. I don’t know Anne, but Bill is one of my favourite people at church. We regularly play in the worship team together, he puts up with all the financial issues I cause him, and visits the creative arts office pretty much everyday for a chat about something or other. He is a fantastic man and I am so devastated that both he and Anne would be subject to such a horrific tragedy. I pray that we would exemplify ‘community’ in the coming weeks, and that as that community we can help ease the pain as much as possible. The Clagues are such a blessing to us all.