December 23 - Toni Allison

Two years ago, life as I knew it came to a stand still. I lost three people that were important to me in the course of one year: my mother, one of my high school best friends, and a family friend. 

I’ve always known that if no one loved me or supported me, my mother did. The last few years I had come to know my mother differently than ever. I was basically my mom’s caretaker for the last eight years of her life. Growing up with my father after my parents’ divorce created a sense of indifference towards my mom. It took me most of my adult life to break down that barrier, and when I finally felt like I was making way I lost her to congenital heart failure.

Later that same year one of my best friends was tragically murdered. This friend was with me during the hardest week of my life as my mom passed away. Unfortunately, we had just spoken for the first time in about a month a week before her death after having what now seems like a petty disagreement. I realized in hindsight that I didn’t verbally share how I appreciated her being a part of my life. 

Then I learned of the loss of a friend very dear to me. He passed of similar heart complications as my mom. I nearly reached out the week prior to his death, but I got too busy and canceled. To also lose him was overwhelming to say the least. Attending his funeral brought back memories of things I’d forgotten about, and made me incredibly sad that I never told him how I felt about all he’d done. Now he would never know. 

For the first time I had a front row seat to loss. I was thankful to know the Lord in the midst of loss, but I was also angry with God for allowing this to happen. Despite great support in my life, nothing could soothe the ache in my soul. Then, one day at my church I got the idea to ask a newly widowed woman I didn’t know to coffee. Another day I heard as if someone was speaking directly to me, “you will never be alone.” These moments were noticeable turning points. God used unusual ways and an unfamiliar person to to encourage my eart.