'As long as we can love each other, and remember the feeling of love we had, we can die without ever really going away. All the love you created is still there. All the memories are still there. You live on--in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here.' Morrie Schwartz, from tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (p174).
To say this book was incredible in an understatement, I truly received more than the author could have imagined. For me it was being able to see life and death through the eyes of someone who is dying. To understand that there is beauty in everything in life, even in the death of a loved one. Through the tears, we finally see the beauty that was their life, the gift.
This particular quote truly struck me, and I know it is so very true. Rachel loved everyone she called 'friend' and family in her book was automatic, how could you not love them, they're family. I look at Rachel's life, my dad's, my grandparents, and every relative who has died, and as I ponder the very first line, it hits me. Not one of my deceased family members, and even friends are forgotten, they are still very much a part of my life. Just this past weekend my dad was remembered in a Mass, it was my way of celebrating his birthday (Nov. 30th). After the Mass, a few relatives came by for coffee and pastry, it was our way of remembering not only my dad, but others as well.
We talked about my dad, Rachel, my grandparents, uncles and aunts, and each of us remembered something special, something that made that person memorable for us. As we spoke, you could not only hear the love, you felt it, there was a warmth that permeated our being. We continued our journey down memory lane by sharing how sometimes we find that they have reached out to us, have made their presence known in small ways. 'All the love that is created is still there.' Love reaches beyond everything, even beyond the grave.
How beautiful and comforting to know that no matter what, love is still felt and experienced long after we have said our good-byes. Yes they are not physically present to us, but they are ever present in our hearts. We do not forget them, because they were unforgettable to us, they brightened our lives, and even though their light no longer shines, it's afterglow still warms our heart; even years later.
Rachel has been gone 4 years now, my dad 10 years, even my grandmothers, Rose who died 34 years ago, and Elvira 29 years ago, and a host of other relatives are very much an active part of my life. On Thanksgiving Day, I quietly wished my Avo Elvira Happy Birthday, and in my heart, I knew she said thank you. I felt her gentle kiss as I crawled up on her lap one more time. It is amazing how much love we feel in these simple memories, how even almost 30 years later, it still brings tears to my eyes.
Think of all those people in your life who make you feel special, who take the time to say hello. Look too, at your own life, do you take the time, do others enjoy your company. What makes you special, what makes others in your life special? Do you tell those people in your life that they are important to you? Love is a beautiful gift, it is given to us on one condition, that we share it. To truly love, you must give love, only when we give love freely, with no strings attached, do we fully experience it's incredible power and bask in it's glow.
Now the biggest question we all face is, Is my life memorable, do I love completely and unconditionally? How will I be remembered, have I created memories that will last for years? Will they still feel the love I shared in the days, weeks, months and years after I have gone? If we look at our own lives, look at these questions, and answer them honestly and sincerely, would you change anything? Keep in mind this is our one chance to get it right. Make every day count.
When I think of these questions, I am always reminded of one of my favorite Christmas stories. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, in it Ebenezer Scrooge is taken on a tour of his life, past, present and future. He is given the opportunity to see how his life has impacted others, and in doing so, he is able to change his ways. He becomes a person who everyone respects, loves and who will be remembered long after he is gone. He learned that to truly live, you must give of yourself, you must share the gift of you with others. The rewards are far more precious than any riches one can accumulate.
Let us live each day loving others and making memories. Think of your loved ones, and what they gave to you, what memories you have gathered, and know that these are treasures beyond compare.
In the words of Morrie Schwartz, You live on--in the hearts of everyone you have touched and nurtured while you were here.'
Blessings! and until we meet again.