Summer, my favorite season, is my time to travel. Having a busy body Bailey in tow is changing nothing about that (my girl has a passport, do you).
Brittany, one of my favorite cousins who shared my love for travel, recently accepted a job in Houston after living in Indiana for two years to complete her MBA. Immediately I was like, “Bet, another place to visit!”
Who knew God had a plan for this first and final visit.
The picture of Bailey’s passport was taken when I was supposed to arrive: Friday, July 14. Delta Airlines rained on that parade. Read about it here.
Little did I know this was all part of God’s plan. I could’ve been rebooked for a later flight on Friday, but chose to hold off until the next morning and start fresh.
As luck would have it, Facebook memories began reminding me on that day of a trip we took to France and Italy together.
(The sceenshot below is from my facebook on Friday, July 14, 2017.)
Part of me wishes I’d been able to make it Friday, to spend that day in my cousin’s presence while she was alert and functioning as the vibrant, brave soul I know. But again, God knew what was being put into motion. Before booking this flight, I purchased another which I ultimately changed to the weekend I’m discussing. That previous trip would’ve been a week after her passing…so the timing of this was everything.
I arrived at 10:30a CST to a call from Brittany’s cousin saying she’d have her husband come get me from the airport, as Brittany was experiencing a medical emergency and they were in an ambulance. I immediately spoke to the heavens asking for her to not be in pain but also figured, she’ll be home this evening and we’ll just order in and watch Tv! No problem. I loved her company and we could talk for hours. Plus we had a Firestick and Bailey as our entertainment (and if you follow my social media pages, you know she’s a character and Brittany absolutely loved Bailey)!
I entered the hospital to hear her situation was more critical than I could imagine.
Fast forwarding the story through the days I don’t really want to recall: her heart stopped three times, her brain suffered from the loss of oxygen, she was transferred to a higher level hospital, spent five days in ICU, *insert doctor talk*…all the while the family never left her side, heavily speaking and reading to her, loving on her, filling the hospital room with worship music. We were very confident she’d walk out of the hospital.
I extended my stay in Houston thinking, “I’ll just miss a few days in San Juan (the next flight on the itinerary) but I will at least get to see her walk out of ICU.”
Well in listening to my body which was being bogged down with stress and my mother’s intuition of needing to give Bailey a different scenery, we flew out Wednesday morning.
This cousin was a life liver!!! She travelled extensively, was extremely educated, and worked harder than any 29 year old I know. When she was in our hometown, she made sure to come see Bailey and not only visit for a couple of hours but allow me to sleep (bringing me the baby only to nurse) or even watching her while I went to work in order to give my mom a break for the day.
Her life was and still IS an example to many! I believe she would’ve wanted me to give Bailey the experience of travel even in the midst of her illness.
I arrived to San Juan and God gave me time to get checked into the Airbnb and grab a few groceries for the kid before getting the call that the machines which were allowing her body to continue to thrive were shut off. She peacefully passed minutes later.
Yes I’m going to have theeee hardest time NOT calling, texting, or snapchatting about an Instagram post we saw on Facebook. But I have to remember, I was able to spend her final days with her, and for that I’m grateful.
Besides that, we spent years growing closer. Brittany being 6 years younger, we didn’t grow up as BFFs because she was a baby in my eyes. (Favorite memory of our youth: she was at my house and we were about to begin watching the Simpson’s. This was at its peak in the early 90s. She boldly and responsibly told me and my dad she wasn’t allowed to watch that show. I thought, “Dang now I’m not going to be able to talk about this at school tomorrow.” But my dad jokingly said, “Well you should probably go in the other room.” Lol)
Anyway once in our 20s, and especially when we shared the bond of Delta Sigma Theta, we became great friends.
In all honesty, I had a moment of being mad at God for allowing us to grow so close over the past decade only to break us up. But I know we served a purpose in one another’s life and I’d never want to give that experience and the memories away.
The family supporting one another through this difficult time was helpful. I was able to record doctor conversations and send it to our Missouri loved ones to keep them in the loop with her prognosis. That and the Bailey-waiting-room-entertainment was my purpose for being in Houston when I was.
Today, her family and friends are flooding timelines with all the wonderful memories and ways she encouraged and inspired them. I have been reading EVERY post because it makes me smile to know she touched so many lives! While I know she had so much more to give, she poured into the lives of others more than most and for that her light still shines. Even in her death, people will always remember the way she lived and will continue to be encouraged and inspired by it. ❤️🙏🏾
I’m aware that many reading this do not know Brittany but her life can still be a testimony of living out every moment to the fullest. Did I mention she’d paid off her student loans and still had funds for travel and everyday living?? The girl was baaaaad!
A screenshot of Britt’s IG feed (above and below)…