Echoes in Eternity

05. August 2019 Blog Posts 28

“You are my hero,” she said.


It echoed inside my head for months.


I felt the deep inaccuracy in her words from the start.  This vibrant woman full of life and grace and love, had no business looking up to me.  But her enthusiastic rallying for others is part of her charm and part of her superpowers.


We both had under-performing hearts and over-achieving plans.


I knew her nearly two years before I met her.  She subscribed to my blog and has commented several times on the website and several more by email.  She has worked hard encouraging me though the world would call us strangers. I wish I could say I have done the same for her.


Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

I Thess 5:11


I’ve felt an undeserved blessing each time I’ve heard from her:

Lori is such a gifted writer!  I learn something in everything she writes.  She words things so that it makes sense to me… I know that’s a personal feeling, but there are a lot of things that I stop reading because they don’t make sense to me.  She ALWAYS makes sense to me!  What a blessing she is!


Well Lori – You have done it once again. Another blog with my eyes fixed on the computer screen, my mind wishing I could read faster and get to the next fascinating line of text, but never wanting the chapter to close. Your ability to “paint” a story is just one of the reasons that I “click” through to your blog as soon as you publish it. You are raw, honest and gifted! I always feel like I am “on the ride” with you when you write, and I always want more.Incredible job, my fabulous friend, incredible job!


My gosh you are a good writer!  I really look forward to your blog and hope that in the near future, you get to write a book!


I finally met her a few weeks ago. She was living fully, traveling and celebrating with friends.

Three days later, she died unexpectedly in her sleep.


As a fellow cardiac patient, she was keenly aware of my last disappointing heart failure checkup at the Cleveland Clinic.  She knew my heart function had inexplicably nosedived – twice.  Right after hugs and introductions, she wanted details.  All the details.  Minimizing her own condition, “What I’ve been through is nothing compared to what has happened to you.”


Lori – I am so sorry to hear about your latest “office visit.” Know that somewhere, deep in Texas this woman is praying hard for you. The good news is you’ve bounced back from this before, so let’s all pray for a repeat performance! Looking forward to meeting you this summer!


I didn’t know her long enough to find out her Enneagram number, learn about her past, understand her family and faith wounds, or even appreciate her taste in coffee or food. And yet, her death has slashed into my struggling heart.


Now as I look at my latest doctor notes and see “At Risk of Sudden Cardiac Death” reappearing on my chart, I am humbled to be writing about her passing.  Instead of her reading about mine.


Survivor guilt stings deeply when the prognosis pointed at you pierces someone else.


And chronic illness brings a special brand of survivor guilt, ongoing like the disease itself.  For many of us, it began before we even knew what it was, and it weaves itself throughout our lives as we experience loss in many forms.


We all have people we’ve lost too fast, too soon. From then on, absent from friend gatherings and family photos.  Gone decades early, we feel cheated.  And we shoulder guilt about what the suffocating sorrow should mean for our own brief journey.


So whether you know this precious soul or not, know that our good God specializes in turning guilt into glory.  And the glory is this:   He doesn’t waste a single tear.  Ever.  He catches them, He counts them, and He purposes them.


You keep track of all my sorrows.

You have collected all my tears in your bottle.

You have recorded each one in your book. 

Psalm 56:8


Our tears matter,

and her words still matter, too.


As Roman General Maximus in the movie Gladiator said, “What we do in life echoes in eternity.”

She is not gone, our loved ones are not absent, even from here.


Echo means “to repeat or reverberate after the original sound has stopped.”


As survivors, we have a responsibility.  As those who persevere, we owe a duty:  to carry on her resonating encouragement.


Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever.

Psalm 112:6


As we stand on the shoulders of the giants we encounter, however briefly in life, the echo of their influence can continue through us. Even after the original sound has stopped.


…live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Eph 4:1


So I choose to honor my fast friend by repeating her unconditional support. By making my life sound more like hers.


She reached out to someone who needed a boost instead of looking inward.  She, like all with chronic illness, was not pretending to be sick, but rather, she was pretending to be well.


Trying to make hay,

live life,

unburden those who care for her,

act better than she felt.


And all the while make the journey easier for someone she’d never met.


I long for what this woman now has.

Someone to point to me in Eternity and say, “If it hadn’t been for you…”


I will live this fleeting life differently because our paths crossed, even for a moment.


Her echo and our tears are part of the plan.  My dad, the science guy, taught me early on that sound travels four times faster in the rain.  And the grace-filled part is this:  Echoes move faster through water.


Influence spreads much more quickly through tears.


Her echoes will continue.

With even more urgency in Eternity when we repeat the now tear-soaked words,


“You are my hero.”



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28 thoughts on “Echoes in Eternity”

  • 1
    Cathy Donaldson on August 6, 2019 Reply

    Your words are a beautiful tribute to this friend. You, too, are an encourager. I can’t imagine the stress of what you are experiencing, but somehow you also have found the courage to share your most personal thoughts. Thank you for being so open and so encouraging. I look forward to your weekly posts.

    • 2
      Lori Ann Wood on August 6, 2019 Reply

      Thank you, Cathy. We have been strengthened by the encouragement and prayers of faithful ones like you. We feel God in this journey.

    • 3
      Leigh Ann on August 10, 2019 Reply

      Dear Lori,
      Thank you for sharing your honest uplifting perspective through your blog. You too bring your readership hope and comfort. You are so courageous and much loved. Your faith and your story inspires me. Thank you for helping me live my best life (die my best death).
      Love and prayers,
      Leigh Ann

      • 4
        Lori Ann Wood on August 10, 2019 Reply

        Leigh Ann, your encouragement buoys not just me but many others on their difficult journeys. Thank you my friend and fellow fighter!

  • 5
    Gay Neal on August 6, 2019 Reply

    When I open email and see a blog from Lori I can hardly wait to read it! So encouraging to read your words and seeing your attitude towards a life threatening illness. We pray for you and Del daily, you are never out of thoughts. I thank God for having known you for many years, taught at least two of your babies in cradle roll classes, watched them grow to beautiful adults. (Makes me feel old thinking how many years ago that was!). And seeing you and Del deliver life changing messages about marriage and family in Colonia 89 was heart filling then and now. My life is happier because of yours. Love you and family, and so miss you.

    • 6
      Lori Ann Wood on August 6, 2019 Reply

      I don’t know how to respond to your overflowing kindness, Gay. A tear slipped out as I read this. We miss you and Jasper so much and think about you both. Our times in Mexico are some of the highlights of my life. So glad we share those memories. Love you!

  • 7
    Jon on August 6, 2019 Reply

    Pretending to be well. I saw my older brother do this gracefully. He is an example to my family as to how to face challenge. He would consider you (Lori) to be his hero. Thank you for helping me recall.

    • 8
      Lori Ann Wood on August 6, 2019 Reply

      I love hearing your perspective, Jon. You honor me by reading and relating. Blessings to you, my friend!

  • 9
    Martha on August 6, 2019 Reply

    You pull at my heartstrings every time I read your blog. Blessings and prayers for you as you write your journey. Love you so much.

    • 10
      Lori Ann Wood on August 6, 2019 Reply

      Love you, Martha. Your support means so much.

  • 11
    Carolyn Hook on August 6, 2019 Reply

    Lori, the beauty of the spirit with which you write is so inspiring. The friend you mentioned must have been a wonder-filled and inspiring soul and you are one of my “heroes” of faith in today’s world! The gift God has given you in so many areas of life give others a hope they never knew or thought of before. What a blessing you are to so many in every walk of life.
    I can’t imagine how uncertain the road is that you are walking on right now. I pray that it will be a long one and the Father will “move mountains” in your behalf. You are truly an INSPIRATION and BLESSING to all who meet you. We love you and your family more than you will ever know, Lori.

    • 12
      Lori Ann Wood on August 6, 2019 Reply

      Carolyn, I appreciate your kind words. We are so blessed to have the support of family, friends, and church. We know God is in control.

  • 13
    Cindy Thompson on August 6, 2019 Reply

    I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend, no matter how long you’d known her, and am so glad you did get to meet her. You truly are an inspiration, more spiritually than physically even. Love you and your family so!

    • 14
      Lori Ann Wood on August 6, 2019 Reply

      We love you guys. Blessings, my friend!

  • 15
    Christy Newsom on August 6, 2019 Reply

    Lori, I always read your blogs while I am at work on a break. Sometimes, I have to bring a tissue with me. Know I am reading them and praying for you always.

    • 16
      Lori Ann Wood on August 6, 2019 Reply

      Thank you for reading and sharing, Christy. Hearing from you is always a huge encouragement to me.

  • 17
    Brad Grabs on August 6, 2019 Reply

    You have always been one of my greatest “encouragers,” Lori. Thank you. To be honest, I’m still kind of denying the gravity of your illness because I just don’t want it to be true. So I probably have not been the most encouraging to you during this ordeal. But you are in my prayers and in my heart always. I love you so much!

    • 18
      Lori Ann Wood on August 6, 2019 Reply

      Brad, I owe you a lifetime of cheering you on. You have always been one of the most encouraging and hopeful people I know. Great to hear from you. Love you

  • 19
    Jane Blackwood on August 6, 2019 Reply

    Pure poetry, fresh with life, urgent in message, painful in sorrow. I am so glad I have found you. As a fellow heart failure sister, our mutual friend, Jeanie, pointed you to me as she was visiting your mutual friend, Carol in Memphis. Thank you.

    • 20
      Lori Ann Wood on August 6, 2019 Reply

      Oh Jane, so glad you are here! Your insight will be an amazing addition. Thank you for your generous encouragement. Looking forward to hearing from you again!

  • 21
    Kari on August 9, 2019 Reply

    You are an encourager too: all the years I’ve known you. The words you say of her, I think of you and I know many others do too. Circumstances in this life lead us places we didn’t ever expect to be. Yet as you have processed openly/honestly in your blog, inviting us along your journey, God has been glorified. Every. Time. My heart aches with the thought of yours and it’s challenges. I can never tell you enough what a blessing your friendship has been and is: my forever friend. Praying continually alongside, love you always.

    • 22
      Lori Ann Wood on August 10, 2019 Reply

      Tears flowing down here in the airport on my way to Cleveland. I needed this today. Your love has always had perfect timing. Thank you, my sweet faithful friend.

  • 23
    Kim Brunkhardt on August 13, 2019 Reply

    So proud to know you Lori and be able to call you friend. You have a way to communicate thoughts and ideas so beautifully. You have always been an example to others, but your ability to use this platform to show how God is working in your situation is inspiring to many. I know that walking this road does not flow as easily as your words. We continue to pray for your healing, and for God to use you to His full measure.

    • 24
      Lori Ann Wood on August 13, 2019 Reply

      Thank you, Kim. It has been a blessing to hear from so many faithful believers and to be encouraged by your daily examples as well.

  • 25
    Nikki Herrmann on August 17, 2019 Reply

    Lori, I still can not read this without crying. I can’t even. get past the first sentence. Donna would be so honored that you said all of these fabulous things about her. She really did look up to you a lot. Can’t believe this happened just 2 days after my wedding.
    She loved your blogs and would talk to me about each one. You really inspired Donna!!! Thank you for this from the bottom of my heart!!!!!!

    • 26
      Lori Ann Wood on August 17, 2019 Reply

      She had a profound impact on me. I am blessed to have known her. Thank you for bringing us together.

  • 27
    Nikki Herrmann on November 5, 2019 Reply

    Lori, I couldn’t respond when you first wrote this (pain was too raw). I miss her every day. Her influence on my life was beyond amazing. I need her influence like (don’t become bridezilla, when I was complaining about wedding stuff not going right).
    This post that you wrote for Donna was a great tribute to her. I still cry when I read it. And I probably always will.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    • 28
      Lori Ann Wood on November 5, 2019 Reply

      She was an amazing person for sure. I was blessed to know her if only for that short time. I know she felt the same way about you. She told me so on a couple of occasions. We only get a handful of those special relationships in life. I know you will always treasure this one.

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