A Precious Memory!

Dannielle Renee Leach
August 22, 1964 – September 17, 2006

Bonne Terre, Missouri

Loving Daughter, Sister & Mother!
"For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, you saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them come to be."
There are many stories and memories that I could tell you about.  I could go through a list of adjectives that would describe my sister, and there are many that would agree.  I could tell you how there was a time in our lives that we could not be in the same room together without fighting and again there are those who witnessed that first hand. But I what I want to tell you about is a memory is most precious to me.
For the first time in our lives there were two things that put my sister and I on common ground.  That was the babies that were born to us three days apart and our belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.  We were staying at my dad’s house because he had just had a heart attack and I had come in from Hawaii to see him before his surgery.  One particular night we had just put Austin and Esteban to bed and we went to the kitchen with our bibles.  We sat for hours going through scripture, talking about the meaning and how to apply it to our lives.  We did not fight for the right to be heard, we did not argue about the meaning, we did not disagree about the application to our lives, we just shared many things from our hearts.  We shared our thoughts, our feelings, our perspectives and our hopes and dreams.
That was 1995.  Over the last 11 years since that time, Dannielle seem to struggle more and more.  When things were going bad for her I would not hear from her, when they were going ok she would call and give me her weekly or monthly "report", that is what I called them.  She would call and ask "Whatcha doin?" and then before I could tell her, she would begin to tell me all the things she had done that week and catch me up on the family. And then before I could ask a question or say a word she would say "Well I gotta go and get some stuff done, I’ll call you later, I love ya" and then I would say "I love you too".  Then she would hang up and that was it…then I would wait for the next call.
In truth, she was sometimes selfish like that but I learned a while ago that in order to stay connected I would have to surrender my right to be heard with her, I would need to just listen.  After all if I wanted to be heard I had friends or family that I could call and talk to.  Because I knew that she needed to be listened to.  Many times I felt guilty because I felt like I needed to say something and that if I didn’t then I would regret it. Like warning her, or helping her, or giving her more of my time…but I can tell you today I am glad that I did that for her…because the very last "report" I received from my sister, 11th of September, ended with "I love ya" and me saying "I love you, too".
It is said that "out of the heart are the issues of life" and I believe that what was in her heart were the issues that were most pressing.  Those issues for her were her family, her son and her peace of mind.  She was always seeking for everyone’s approval.  She wanted everyone to be happy.  She wanted all of us, her family, to get along.  She wanted to rest but couldn’t stopy long enough to get it.  She lived her life by her feelings.
And it was her feelings that kept her from accepting with her heart what she knew in her mind. She knew that Jesus gives peace but she thought she had to do things to get it.  She knew that He gives comfort but she thought she had to reach out to people or things to get it.  She knew that He gives grace when we make mistakes but she lived with guilt she needlessly had to carry.  She never realized that she carried those things within her the day she accepted the Lord into her life.
As the verse I quoted in the beginning says God knew each of us before we were formed in our mother’s womb, that each part was wonderfully made and that He ordained every day of our life.  It was written in a book, even before we came to be.  When I think of that verse I think of each part that He knit together in my sister.  That He knew her before my parents knew each other.  He knew what she would look like, act like and be like.  Her life was a gift.   Much like the rose she loved to sing about.  A rose with its thorns gives itself in sacrifice to others.  When it is cut and given as a gift it eventually dies.  But, oh the beauty, the fragrance and memory it leaves behind.
My hope and prayer, and I know for a fact that it is her hope and prayer, that we would make this very difficult time an opportunity to look within and face the hard things about ourselves and make the changes necessary to honor her life.  Don’t let her life be a fleeting memory.  don’t let it be an excuse not to move forward with new dreams and positive life changing decisions.  Don’t let unforgivenss or regret keep us from loving and accepting one another.  We don’t have much time for life is but a vapor!  I love you Dannielle and I can’t wait to see your house in heaven! 

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