Memories, they are all we have some times. I was in traffic and happened to be behind a tour bus which was getting onto the highway. I began to think about where they might be headed, and I remembered that I had taken many a bus trip with my children. My son and daughter were talking about a trip they had taken when they were younger, just the other day.
As I drove, I reminisced about the bus trips and road trips, that we had taken with our children. I felt grateful that we had and still do so much with our children, and now our grandchild. But then I started to wonder, had I done enough with Rachel, had I made her brief stay here on earth memorable. I smiled and I cried, but deep down I felt good, we had done a lot with her, her sister and her brother. The amusement parks, the camping trips, vacations, and even day trips, we had enjoyed ourselves, we had fun as a family.
And when we didn't go somewhere, we had Friday night picnics in our living room. My son who is now 18, still asks us to have a movie night on occasion. We also still have an occasional game night. All this from simply driving behind a tour bus.
We never know what will trigger a memory, what will make us cry, what can leave us feeling empty. Even the scent of something can cause memories to come flooding back to us. I'll spot a parent playing with their child, and I remember my husband and I doing the same thing. I'll she a little girl with pigtails, and I remember Rachel at that age.
Today was a day for subtle reminders of Rachel, even before the bus, I had stopped at a local drug store. There near the cosmetics was a young woman that looked and sounded just like my daughter, I actually had to look twice. I smiled to myself, and just wondered. It was probably this episode that opened my mind to other memory triggers.
All too often someone will say that they are afraid they will forget the person, what if they cannot remember their face, their smile, what if it all becomes a blurr? Most of the people I have spoken to have told me that they can still remember specific things and looks that were unique to them. My father died almost 11 years ago, and I can still hear him call my name, and I can still see his smile. I don't dream about him, but I have not forgotten what he looks like, what his favorite sweater was, and so on. As I typed this last sentence an image of my father sitting in his favorite chair popped into my head.
We don't forget, unless we want to, they are with us, they left their footprints on our hearts. In time even anything bad begins to fade and you recall what was good. This past weekend I met someone who had been violated as a child, she did not want anything to do with this person. But yet when she was told this person was dying, she called, she told them she forgave them, and was able to be at peace with what had happened in her past. So even though this person was a reminder of darker times, by letting go she freed herself. Allowing good to permeate her being.
Death is not easy, it is a very unwelcomed visitor, but it cannot and does not rob us of our memories. It may take our loved one, but what we shared with them, remains. Those are ours to cherish, to buoy us when we feel down, to let us know that they lived, they were loved and they meant so much to us. We hurt because we loved, we gave ourselves over to their love.
So for those of you who have said good bye to a loved one, whom death has claimed, cling to those memories. To what ever you shared together, to what they brought into your life and to all those things you are glad you didn't miss. For those who have special people in your lives, make memories with them, take no day for granted. My daughter was here one day and gone the next. We spoke on the Friday before her death, and she was excited, full of plans. Saturday morning at 3:28 a.m., all that was gone, and all I was left with were her memories.
Do not take anyone in your life for granted, we are all just passing through this life. Some are here for a long time, and others accomplish what is needed and are gone. Rachel was 23, my friends son was 17, friends of my parents lost their grandson at the age of 4. A young woman at my church just lost her husband this past summer, he was 36. Yet my grandfathers lived to be 98. My point is we just don't know, so we should live each day as if it may be our last, or the last day for a loved one. Tell them what they mean to you, let them know you love them. Allow yourself to create the memories that will carry you through, that will help alleviate any guilt. The memories that let you know that you did what was important, and that they were a priority in your life.
Love them, cherish them always, and let them know it.
Blessings! and until we meet again.