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Goodbye Beloved “Friend at First Sight”

I don’t believe in “love at first sight,” but I do believe that once in a great while, some fortunate people encounter “friends at first sight.”  Maybe you know what I’m talking about. There are certain people whose chemistry just seems to draw you in.  Minutes after meeting them you find yourself engaging with them, laughing with them, perhaps crying with them, and bonding with them as though you had known each other intimately for years.

If this has ever happened to you, you can attest that such encounters are as rare as they are blessed.

Gaby Hitipeuw was a just such a “friend at first sight.” I and a team of three others from ReKnew had the honor of meeting Gaby and her husband Jason, who also was an instant “friend at first sight,” while I was conducting a three day conference in Basel Switzerland last August. This adorable couple had traveled all the way from Austria, mainly because they wanted to share the difference my books and ministry had made in their lives, especially as they dealt with the cancer that Gaby had for eight years been valiantly fighting. Over three days I and my wife, along with Greg and Marcia Erickson, shared stories, cried, laughed, and bonded with Gaby and Jason. It almost seemed like we had known each other from childhood. We were “friends at first sight.”

On February 28, 2015, Gaby succumbed to the cancer she so bravely fought. I had one last chance to speak with Jason and Gaby via Skype a month or so before she passed. They knew the end was near. Gaby was tired and in some discomfort, but both she and Jason displayed the unmistakable “peace that surpasses understanding” that only people who know Jesus intimately have when the end is near. We talked about end of life matters, about Jesus, about imagining heaven and about how very hard it is to let go of loved ones. We once again cried, laughed and bonded, as though we’d been friends forever.

All of us who instantly fell in love with Gaby over in Basel are comforted in knowing that, even though we didn’t have the opportunity to know her very long in this life, we ARE friends forever.  And we look forward to the time when we will once again see Gaby’s radiant smile and enjoy her precious company.

Letting go of people you love IS so very difficult, but until we meet again, it is what we must do.

Goodbye Gaby. You will always be our beloved “friend at first sight.”

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