It is with a heavy heart that I say good-bye to my dear friend, Briana Blackwelder. She was killed in a car accident on Saturday in Utah while heading to California for Easter Sunday to be with her family. I’ve known Briana since middle school days, but it wasn’t until last year that we really developed our friendship. It was one of those friendships that I was excited to see progress and though I’m now far away in Denmark, I knew we would keep up and that it would be good.
You see, Briana was a midwife. I didn’t even know midwives still existed until I found out she was going to midwifery school years ago. You might understand my ignorance considering my great great great grandmother, Patti Sessions, was a midwife who delivered babies on the pioneer trek. I assumed it was a 19th century thing. However, Briana built her practice and was darn good at it. In many cases, I don’t think a career necessarily defines one’s identity, but in the case of Briana it was an excellent representation of who she was. I could tell that her motherly instincts provided calmness and reassurance to her patients. When she spoke to you, she pierced your heart and soul. She is a natural caregiver, supportive and giving.
When I was preparing to get married to Paul last year, Briana called me up and said she was in town for a birth. So we got some lunch by her parents house in and had a delightful afternoon catching up. It turned into a pre-marital lesson for me where I pretty much pestered her with curiosities and she was thorough, thoughtful, informative, and so present. Though I’m far from having a baby, I’ve been trying to figure out a way that Briana could be in my life when Paul and I do decide for that day to come. I thought maybe we could be in Utah for 9 months, or maybe she wouldn’t mind moving to Denmark for a bit (a girl can wish). In fact, the day she passed on I was thinking about her and thinking of the logistics of getting her over here. I think there’s a reason why certain thoughts are placed in your head at certain times.
I’m heartbroken and shocked, but I couldn’t be more grateful that this occurred around Easter when we celebrate how Christ gave his life to us so that we might live again. I know Briana is in a good place with a loving Father and I know we will see her again. Death is not the end. She lives. My thoughts and prayers are with her dear family, especially her brother Ian who was also in the car and suffered a broken clavicle and scratches. They will be having celebration services (not funerals!) on Wednesday at 7pm at 951 East 100 South in Salt Lake City and on her birthday, May 6, in California.
I love you Briana.