Remembering and memories, are key to our moving forward. I have shared some memories of Rachel, and of others who have shared their stories. What I truly believe is that when we share, we are not only helping ourselves, we a very much helping others. I always have a photo of Rachel with me, as I do my other children and grandchild. And I show all of them off proudly.
Many times when I am out socially people will ask your typical conversational questions. For example, 'What do you do for a living?,' 'How many children do you have?' and of course so many more that we generally ask when we are introduced to someone for the first time.
When it comes to the number of children I have, I simply reply, 'I had three.' and for the most part it is a statement that many glaze over, not really hearing it. Occasionally someone will hear the past tense, stop and ask for an explanation. I share her story, show them a photo if they ask, and go from there. One thing that is very important to me is it allows me to remember that I am and always will be the mother of 3 children, no matter what happens in life.
One of the amazing and wonderful aspects of sharing my story, is I hear the stories of so many more. I learn that I am not alone, that so many people have and are traveling on the very same road I happen to be on. I have met mothers and fathers who even years later still struggle with the death of a child, regardless of the age. I had the privilege of meeting a woman last month who had buried her 40 something year old son. Her pain and grief was as intense as that of any mother, she had lost a part of herself.
When we are open to others around us, we can gain so much guidance from their wisdom, from their journey, and from their pain. In almost every encounter I have had with someone who has lost a loved one, they have a photo, a memento, prayer card or something they carry with them that serves as a constant reminder of their loved one. I have Rachel's photo, as an adult and as a small child and her prayer card.
|Rachel and her cousin Catie searching for Easter eggs, Spring 2006|
Let me share Rachel with all of you. I know I have been sharing her with you in my postings, but now I want you to meet her. To see what we saw, to get to know the person she was and still is to us. She had a love of life, and truly enjoyed being with family. She always had time for family, and her little cousins loved her. Just the other day I received an email message from a family member just letting me know that he keeps Rachel in his prayer always. I know I do, but to know that others still keep her memory alive is a great comfort to me. I have often run into people who knew Rachel and attended her funeral, they tell me they still have her photo, they still remember.
|Rachel and Catie, August 2006|
It is not the same, and will never be, we like so many of you who have lost a loved one, have a gaping hole in our lives, that nothing can fill. But even with all the pain, all the uncertainty, we have our cherished memories, the photographs, their stories, and most importantly, their love. I read something the other day about messages that come from the spirit. And yes, I do believe that they reach out to us. The message was, 'please do not stop loving me, I am still with you always.'
I know I will love Rachel until the day of my own death, and that she will always be a very important part of my life. Others may forget, but my husband, my daughter, and my son will not. And my grandson will know all about his Auntie Rachel, because we will share her story with him.
Cherish them in life, and love them always, even in death.
Blessings! and until we meet again.