Three years ago, on June 15th, 2012, my dear friend Preethi died of cancer. She was only 36 and left behind her husband, three precious little boys, and numerous friends and family who all loved her deeply. It is still hard to believe that she is gone. The world seems to continue moving forward, yet on this anniversary of her homecoming, I am strongly reminded of a precious woman that the world is missing.
Preethi taught me many things about friendship, about loving life, loving your family, and above everything else, loving God.
I've been thinking a lot about friendship these days and I was going to write a little bit about that. Then, as I was reflecting back, I began reading the words that I shared at Preethi's funeral. It seemed like those words, and capturing a glimpse of Preethi's life and how she loved, was the most appropriate thing to share on this day.
Here are those words...
I remember clearly the first time that I met Preethi. Our husbands, Sam and Adam had already met and talked a few times and then Adam and Preethi invited us over for a meal at their home. We were warmly greeted at the door by that amazing smile that so many of you know. The wonderful smell of Indian food filled the entire house. From that one evening, over two years ago, began one of the dearest friendships that I have known. I know that many of you sitting here know exactly what I mean when I say that Preethi was able to touch so many hearts so deeply and in such a short amount of time.
I knew that Preethi was an amazing mom right from the start of our friendship. At the time her boys were 1, 2 & 3. She would take them on all kinds of adventures. They would go down to the Mall of America to go on the amusement rides, to the Children’s Science Museum, the Eagles Nest, numerous visits to the splash pad and parks, and uncountable amounts of picnics and play dates in the back yard.
It was a joy and a memorable experience to recount the numerous play dates that occurred at Preethi’s house. Upon arriving at her house you would here, “Come on in!” as she would be rushing to the door to greet you. Hi Sarah girl or Hi Jenny girl or Hi Shelli girl…we were all her girls or some other nickname that she might call you by and there was always usually somebody new there to meet!
I remember that she always smelled so wonderful and her house was so welcoming. She would take your jacket from you and give you a big hug. You could barely get your kids in the door and she would be helping them get settled as well. She would offer you some dark coffee mixed with some flavored creamer. If you had a baby with you she would insist on holding them for you so that you could sit and relax. She would say that she wasn’t going to make anything special for lunch but her “nothing special” always looked like my “gourmet” and you never went away hungry.
Once everyone that came over that day would be settled we would sit down and Preethi would begin talking about Jesus…about how she was learning so much through this process about trusting him…about a new verse that she was reading that really meant a lot to her. There were a few other things that always came up in conversation too. Adam’s name was mentioned every time. Whether she was beaming about the new purse that he had given her or she was telling about their fun weekend adventure away. She always lit up when mentioning Adam and was so proud of Him. Her other favorite thing that she would talk about or should I say favorite three things…was Julian, Zachary & Micah. There was always a fun story to share. About how Julian was reading at such a young age, or Zachary wanting to snuggle, or Micah’s flourishing personality.
I’ve had a hard time coming to grips that Preethi is really gone. Even while she battled what we knew was a super difficult battle with cancer the reality of God’s strength in her life made it seem so unreal. With the passing months her tests would come back worse and yet she still remained the same looking so joyful and well. She was always giving Glory to God for the way that he was working in her life and boy was it evident.
I know that Preethi completely trusted God.
She trusted him to heal her so that her life would be long and full with lots of time with her family. But she also trusted God that if his plan was for her to be up in heaven early then the God that had worked so clearly in her life to love, care and transform her would also fully take care of Adam and the boys here on earth.
I don’t know many people that would trust that greatly in either circumstance.
My prayer is that as God cares for Adam and the boys that He would use all of us whose Preethi’s life touched so deeply to surround this family for many, many years to come. That we won’t forget the impact that Preethi had on this world and instead would clearly remember it and that it would change us for eternity. If I had to express the life that Preethi passionately portrayed in five sentences this is what I would say…
Preethi loved everyone and treated them all the same.
Preethi’s smile was contagious, her passion and joy were always overflowing.
Preethi loved making people feel extra special and loved to feel extra special herself.
Preethi loved her family deeply and knew how to have fun and enjoy every moment with them.
Preethi loved God with all of her heart…not just part of it…ALL of it!
However, I have one more significant reason as well as to why I want to always remember her. I am hoping that in the years to come I will be asked by one of her boys, just like many of you will be asked as well… “Did you know my mom? Can you tell me what she was like?” “Why yes, yes I certainly can. She was one of the most remarkable people that I ever knew…let me tell you some stories about why…”