Will you remember me? Tell me you won't forget me? These are words we have heard many, oh so many times, and we have more than likely said them ourselves. No one wants to be forgotten.
I look at the small children in my life, and I see this played out whenever they are around. They are not subtle, they do not sit there just waiting for someone to notice them, they let you know. They call out your name, look Titi (cute version of the Portuguese word for aunt, tia), look Dina (my godchild's name for me) or mom, or grandma, or whatever name they have for you. They keep doing this till you take notice.
Sometimes all they want is a simple acknowledgement that you know they are there, or that you see them. They do this often when there are others around, especially the adults. The adults in my life act a little more differently, they may try to speak louder, speak over someone, or a few more subtle ways, like coughing or tapping on the table. My favorite is when they try to make their way into your view, sometimes obscuring all others from your view, making sure that you see only them.
However and whatever is done, the goal is to seek out your attention, insuring that they are your only focus at the very moment. Wanting to be acknowledged, wanting to be noticed, wanting you to know them, understand them and most importantly, remember them.
When someone you know is dying, one of their biggest fears is that they will be forgotten. Oh, not right away, because of course there is the funeral and the grieving, but what happens in the weeks, months and years that follow. Will someone still think of them fondly, will they remember their birthday, their favorite color, food, etc., will they mention their name, will they share their story, all these things course through their mind.
For those of us who are grieving, we too have the same fear for our loved one. Will I be the only one that thinks of them, will everyone forget them, will anyone care that they lived and died, will they be afraid to even mention their name? All these things run through our minds, but I have come to learn that people don't forget our loved ones, no more than we do. They may not mention them, but occasionally they will say or do something that lets you know they do remember.
I think of all the times since Rachel's death that someone has said a kind word, let me know they think of Rachel, or that they still keep her picture nearby. I also find that attending services like the one I mentioned a few days ago, reassures you that even if they do not know your loved ones name, they still want to you know they matter, that they should be remembered.
I have started reading a very interesting book, it was one that was recommended reading for the students at the college I am attending. It is entitled 'tuesdays with Morrie' by Mitch Albom; the subtitle simply states: 'an old man, a young man, and life's greatest lesson.' It is a very quick read, one you hate to put down, a true story about living, truly living. One of the most interesting statements and lessons for me was 'when you learn how to die, you learn how to live.' How intriguing, I must learn to die in order to live, how can that be?
Then I started to think about my recent assignment, that of planning my funeral, it wasn't that bad to do. I thought about it, wrote my obituary, and planned out everything. Upon completion, one of the first things that struck me, was that I have done so much in my life, and I know that I still have so much more too do. But death is not so frightening, it holds promise some how. For me, being reunited with loved ones, no more pain or worries, no more uncertainty or doubt. So have I learned to die, I wonder! am I truly living? I cannot honestly say I have the answer to that one, I guess I am still a student, and hopefully I am open to learning.
Besides this statement, I realized that the book was a sharing, the author wanted everyone to know this man, as he knew him. And the old man, in sharing his story, wanted others to understand and to see what opportunities we have by choosing to live. There is no doubt in my mind that this old gentleman will not be forgotten, his story lives on, just as he lives on in all those he touched. That is what we want for ourselves for our loved ones.
I am constantly reminded of how even years later, a loved one is remembered. In this same book there is an interview, and the gentleman speaks of letters he has been receiving from people. He responds to the writer of one particular letter, sharing his own grief journey, and the pain of losing his mother. As he relates the story his voice cracks, the interviewer looks at the gentleman and says 'that was seventy years ago your mother died. The pain still goes on?' 'You bet,' Morrie whispered.'
We don't forget, do we? And even though it is not a constant, debilitating pain, we still ache for those we have lost, even so many years later. We remember them, we think of them, we are grateful that they were a part of our lives, a part of who we are. They are not forgotten, they are always with us, always near. We just have to let them in, let them be part of us, allow ourselves to see them and feel them with our hearts.
So when someone asks you, 'Will you remember me.' You can simply answer 'yes.'
As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving Day tomorrow, think of all your loved one meant to you. Think of all the things you are grateful for because of them. Celebrate with them, for them and because of them. They are always with you. Love transcends and goes where all else fears to go. Love is the greatest give they give to us. Because of love, we refuse to forget. Because of love, we choose to live.
Blessings! and until we meet again.