Below are words DeeDee, Alanna's twin, shared at Alanna's memorial. I am trying to capture each speaker's words to share with you. The category will be Ode to Alanna.
Many people would agree that if you’ve met any of her sisters, you’ve met Alanna. I think we all have a bit of each of the following qualities: spunk, loving attitude, take charge leadership, stubbornness, drama queen, inclusive of others, thrifty, creative, involved, well connected, passionate (almost to a fault) regarding our families, our life’s work, friendships and simple love of being with people. If you’ve ever noticed that about one of us sisters, you know it was true of Alanna too.
Alanna gained some special insights this year and she wanted to find a way to share them with you. She found that way, I believe, in a dream I had last week. Let me share a little bit of that dream with you.
Picture yourself, surrounded by extended arms, each hand offering you a glass containing something different. Imagine pushing away each of those glasses – not wanting to accept the gift contained therein. I realized that’s where Alanna was at the beginning of her journey.
Whether you start that journey long ago or during the past year, doesn’t matter. I’m going to start it just over a year ago. She was only sick for the past 10 months but their house burglary happened in January so we will start there. After a visit from ABQ to Ohio for Christmas, Alanna, Jim and the kids arrived home to find their house had been robbed. Alanna was planning to clean up the mess and move on. So often that is what happens. Not with her church community!
That following Sunday morning Jim had accepted a gift from people who wanted to help. Alanna called me for advice on how to give it back. I wasn’t there to answer the phone and by the time we talked, Jim and Alanna had been showered with other gifts. Both money and wit J. This was the start of Alanna accepting the generous gifts that were offered. Don’t get me wrong, she wanted to push them away. It is so much easier to be the giver than the receiver. But God had challenged her with a new role.
By June, Alanna’s cancer had made its presence known and so her role of showing God’s grace and glory despite adversity began. Lots of people held out their glasses filled with kind, encouraging words and supportive hugs. All of those gestures of help and support were appreciated.
Fast forward with me to these past few months. For Alanna’s journey, the glasses being offered were filled with many different gifts. The creativity in the gifts shared was amazing. Chocolate, hugs, more cards and emails of encouragement, prayers for herself and her family, tickets to a ball in her honor and Irish music in her hospital room were all ways she felt loved and spoiled by those who meant the world to her.
In her last days, Alanna re-taught herself how to swallow and those glasses being offered were full of lots of different flavors. Her taste sensation was completely off and she was searching for a flavor that would be palatable. She would taste a little and share the rest. She taught me that showing God’s love in a practical way is as simple as a cherry icee. Showing God’s glory is as simple as sharing the rest and letting him use you.
What’s in your glass today? What can you share with others? Is it humor? A positive outlook? Gifts of service? A spare bedroom? Or a spare car? Frequent flyer miles? Great cooking? A special song? All of these were shared with our family in the past two weeks. Whatever God has filled your glass with is intended to be shared. Share it and God’s glory will become obvious! What you have to offer is significant, let God use you!
The Hering’s Albuquerque family allowed their glasses to overflow! God is rejoicing in all the glory, grace and love that has been shown to our family. Alanna wanted us to not only recognize that, but continue to love each other in practical ways.
God decided to heal Alanna on HIS side of heaven instead of ours. That is hard for us to accept. Being Alanna’s twin, I just keep thinking that a part of me has died with Alanna’s passing. If that is the case, then a part of her remains alive in me as well. Since Alanna has touched each one here, her legacy will live on in each one of us.