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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Looking Back, Moving Forward

It is so much fun to reminisce, especially when you are spending time with family and friends.  Earlier today my family and I picked grapes, we no longer make wine, but we still have some family members who do; so we ate lunch and went right to the task.  

While we were picking the grapes, we shared our childhood memories with my son, nieces and nephew, relating our stories and how this event was a major family affair.  We talked about my dad, our grandparents, aunts and uncles and my daughter.  We remembered how we looked forward to it, even though it was tiring and seemed to take forever before we got to the home stretch.  

My daughter Rachel was on my mind as I remembered her sharing this event with friends.  The stories she shared were very compelling, because her friends volunteered to come and help out.  Even to this day they can't believe how much fun they had just trying something new.  

It is funny to think that what was a chore for us, can be a fun and exciting adventure for someone else, it all depends on the perspective.  Sometimes we need to step back and really look at something from every angle.  We need to see things in life as a new adventure, albeit sometimes challenging, but somehow worthwhile in the end. 

As we journey through our grief, we need to see our life from a new angle, stepping back to take in the whole picture.  We sometimes need to take a trip down memory lane, to bring us 'back to the future.'  As I thought about my daughter, and how she loved being with others, doing things with others, it made me realize that I was on a whole new adventure.  Even though she was my daughter and a lot younger than I, she had found a way in life to enjoy every moment to its fullest.  I realized that I needed to take my cue from her, to look beyond the mundane and see a new opportunity.

When we first suffer through the death of a loved one, we cannot see beyond the moment we are in.  We believe that we can never go on, it just seems so impossible.  Yet as we trudge along, we begin to evolve, to find ways to cope, to begin to look forward and to see the joy and laughter in our lives again.  I was with individuals yesterday who have found the new, in the uncertain, who have survived and grown even when the odds were against them.  

I was with individuals who at a very young age had lost both their parents in the same year, and who with strength and encouragement, became very successful.  Their parents are always on their minds, even after almost 20 years, especially when they see their parents reflections on their children's faces.  

We remember for ourselves, we share their stores so they will be remembered in the years to come.  We allow them to live on.  This year my husband and I were blessed with a grandchild, and my daughter has asked us to tell him about Rachel.  He is still very young of course, but will seek out Auntie Rachel's picture, when he hears her name.  It saddens me to know that he will not physically know his Auntie, but at the same time, I know she can still be a part of his life, even if it is only in the stories we share.  

It may be difficult for you to begin looking ahead, it may require taking some deep breaths to get through certain days, events or family gatherings.  You may find that some moments are bittersweet, as in the birth of my grandchild, knowing that important family members can no longer be present.  

The key is to reminisce, to begin to share their stories, to let them live on through their memory, and to always share the gift they left for you.  But like any gift we receive, we need to unwrap it, take it out, and allow the whole world to see.  Most importanlty, we must allow  the love to lead the way, to be our mantra, to know that our loved one may have died, but the love lives on.

Blessings! and until we meet again.

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