Take the very best of those you have lost and bring it out into the world in their honor.
Carry on where they no longer can and shine your light for them.
Listen for the whispers in your mind of their words and trust they are always with you
because you keep their memory alive with the life that you live
I came home the other day with new curtains for my kitchen. Being in a hurry I simply took them out of the bag, gave them a good shake and put them on the curtain rod. Once they were hung and I was feeling like I had accomplished something on my to do list, I heard it. Gentle as a whisper just beside my ear... "Iron the damn curtains." The voice of my grandmother. Goddess of the iron and the ever perfect crease. I sighed, chuckled and though she has been gone for years now, ironed the damn curtains.
Last week while out running errands, I stopped for some lunch. As I read my book and ate my sandwich I kept stealing glances at a gentleman sitting off in the corner by himself. An older man with a shock of white hair, rumpled cardigan and a gaze that seemed lost in the past. I called the waitress over and asked her to add his lunch to my bill and made her promise to keep it a secret. Just to tell him that he was to have a nice day. I did this because watching him brought a memory of a time when I was out to lunch with my mom and we did the same thing. Giggling the whole time like kids. I wanted to do the same that day in her memory. She taught me about random acts of kindness.
I was having a bit of self-doubt recently. Talking down to myself and all around not believing I was capable of doing something new that had presented itself to me. All of a sudden I feel this strong presence and even stronger words in my mind. "Baby girl, get out there and do your thing. You are capable, more than capable. Believe in yourself as much as I always did." Followed up with a, "Now get off your ass and own it." I knew without a doubt whose voice was echoing in my head. He had been one of my fiercest champions. He taught me to be exactly as I am and to tell those who don't like it to get lost. He is the one who showed me I was amazing and to be okay with that. So I did what I thought I couldn't, because to not to would dishonor him. He believed in me always.
I live for those I have lost along the way.
I hear their words echo in my mind. I feel their happiness when I triumph, their solace in my sadness and their love surround me regardless of how long they have been gone. To me they aren't really gone because their love, their lessons and their memories are so very much alive within me. In the way I hang curtains, believe in myself and care for others. In the way I live every day of my life. To do any less would feel like a betrayal of those who had loved me. I want the lives of those who I have loved and have lost to matter still today. So I take the very best of each of them and carry it forth.
Back in 2010 I went to more funerals than parties. It seemed like every time my phone would ring, it was another loved one lost. Some I had time to prepare for. I was with my grandmother every moment in her final weeks until she took her last breath. Others were sudden and completely unexpected. All left huge gaping holes in my life. Grief was a constant companion and I knew without a doubt how easy it would be to give into it. I wanted to close off my heart and run away from all who I cared about. I didn't want any more pain. I didn't want any more loss. My heart couldn't take it.
Life lost its color for most of that year and the next. It was with the sudden death of my mom the following year that brought me out into the light again with a sudden epiphany. Not one of them would want me driven to my knees in despair. Not one of them would want my life to become shadows of times gone by. They would want me to live fully in today. They would want me to carry on living where they could no longer and to take everything they had taught me and go forward.
Every lost loved one taught you something. They gave the gifts of themselves for however long their time here in earth. And though grief and taking time to mourn is necessary in healing, so is picking up and carrying on with your life. Because in doing so, in picking up the scattered pieces of your heart and going on with life, is to also carry on with theirs. Becoming trapped in the darkness of loss, losing yourself in grief is not how they would want you to be.
Honor their life with yours.
I keep a bottle of Estee Lauder Youth Dew perfume on my dresser. Both my mother and my grandmother wore it. When life gets to be overwhelming or when I'm missing them all of a sudden and out-of-the-blue, I open it and breathe in the scent. Closing my eyes and imagining them standing next to me. Feeling the power in the memories and pulling strength from them. I walk away knowing that I will be okay because of what they taught me.
Through me in my words; my actions, achievements and lives that I can touch, those who I have lost - will live on. Their lives changed this world and through me will continue to change it forever. Because as they touched my life, I can touch the lives of others and those others will go forth and touch more. All of which would never have happened had I allowed the darkness of grief to consume me.
Take the very best of those you have lost and bring it out into the world in their honor. Carry on where they no longer can and shine your light for them. Listen for the whispers in your mind of their words and trust they are always with you because you keep their memory alive with the life that you live.
Add the very essence of you to the essence of them and forever they shall live on.
9/14/2014 02:13:15 pm
My father died last September and now I am here carrying on where he left off- caring for my mother who has dementia. I am the only daughter who lives in the area and , with the help of some home care, it's up to me. I feel like I've lost both parents at the same time because my mother doesn't even know who I am. I find myself quoting them all of the time. I never realized how their words were really sinking in. It seems like forever since I've really laughed and felt joy. I'm sure, someday, it will come back to me. By the way- my Aunt Kay- my mother's sister -died about 10 years ago and she always wore Youth Dew. I keep a bottle in my bedroom and dab a little on to keep me closer to her.
9/14/2014 03:07:23 pm
I love the feeling that comes over me when I take a whiff of that perfume. I followed this little old lady through the grocery store one day who was wearing it. I thanked her for making my day.
8/16/2015 07:51:10 am
I wear youth dew every day because I think it makes me smell clean. My sister who has been sick for about three years and is not finally getting better laughed out loud this week. She sounded like herself and even happy./ That one laugh meant more than I can say. I share in your pain now and responsibility that you have taken on.
9/14/2014 02:14:56 pm
After a long week and weekend of viewings and funerals, I needed this! Thank you for reminding me- my angels are with me!
9/14/2014 03:08:39 pm
Oh, Pamela!! I wish I could just hug you close. I am sorry for your loss.
9/14/2014 03:44:38 pm
Thank you! You've given me some ideas young lady. Now to plot & plan them into action.
9/14/2014 10:54:22 pm
You are so welcome Jessie!! You will have let me know what you do. Thank you for reading and commenting xoxo
9/14/2014 11:59:19 pm
Thank you. I really needed this message. I have been so lost since my father died in 2007 then my mother in 2012. And in between my marriage died, too. I have been struggling trying to raise my children without any family. Tank you again.
9/15/2014 01:55:13 pm
It is within stretches of life like these that you discover layers of strength and resolve you never knew you were capable of. I am so sorry for all the loss you have seen yourself and your children through. You are an amazing and strong woman Amanda. I believe wholeheartedly you will succeed. You are a rock!
9/15/2014 01:55:14 am
Thank you so much. It has been over 3 years now since we laid my daughter to rest. My father died the same day in an unrelated car accident. My mother was with me at the hospice. I have been in mourning since then, and am still wearing black. Lately I have been sensing a change and I am finding a little strength at a time to begin to move forward and care about things, yet taking her with me, as you write. Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear this.
9/15/2014 02:00:27 pm
I cannot imagine how broken life became in that moment for you. Living for your daughter is one of the most beautiful tributes can imagine. Her laugh she got from you, her love and shining soul and what an awesome way to honor her by sharing it with the world. You will get there. Piece by piece you will begin that forward motion and know that she will be with you every step of the way. Cheering you on. Pushing you when you stumble and being those whispered words of encouragement in your soul.
9/18/2014 08:19:59 am
Jenn this was beautiful. They live in me too and always will.
9/18/2014 02:17:12 pm
Thank you Sheila.
9/18/2014 09:11:52 am
Hey! I have a quick question about your blog. Could you please email me when you get a chance? Thanks!!
9/18/2014 02:17:31 pm
10/12/2014 02:10:14 am
My father passed on in February and my mother is now in care suffering from Dementia... I miss my dad dearly and live my life listen ending to his words of wisdom and grace... He was a darling man.
10/12/2014 01:55:02 pm
♥ Clare. I'm sorry for your loss. Sending you big hugs and lotsa love. He sounds like an amazing dad.
7/8/2016 11:50:26 pm
I too lost my Dad 6 months ago and I immediately felt that the right thing to do was to move closer to my Mom (who fortunately is in great health at 83). My husband was 100% with me on that and we're closing on our home that's just 30 minutes away from her next month. I feel and hear my Dad all the time and know he's smiling down on me, filled with pride and love because I made a promise to him that is always take care of my Mama.
10/12/2014 11:17:29 am
This is a beautiful post, thank you. I've been feeling a little lost lately, and sad. I miss my dad, who was my biggest supporter. I went to his grave site today to read the quote on his stone, and remind myself of who he was and who I want to be. He carried a worn newspaper clipping in his wallet. He first showed me when I was around 5 years old. It was: “I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
10/12/2014 01:57:07 pm
It always amazes me how life tends to bring exactly what we need at the exact moment we need it.
12/18/2014 01:56:06 pm
I sure needed this today. I've been in a funk for days now. My Dad and my Grandmother both passed away on Dec. 14 several years ago and it's one day that I still have trouble getting through. I am a pagan and lately I've questioned a lot of things about myself. This post showed me that my angels are still with me, still protecting me and still loving me. Perhaps I was looking outward for comfort when I should have been listening to those voices and that tugging on my hair that happens now and then. I will now live my life for those I have lost along the way. My brother passed recently from pancreatic cancer and there are many, many groups that need volunteers. I will be one. Thank you for the eye-opener. Thank you for opening my heart.
3/10/2015 05:33:13 am
I lost my father six months ago today. One of the last things he said to me was how proud he was of me and my independence. It meant the world to me to hear him say that. I feel his presence from time to tome and not a day goes by that I don't think of him and my other loved ones. Thank you for writing this piece.
3/10/2015 03:38:35 pm
So beautiful! I'm crying...some happy tears too! Thank you! Love!
3/12/2015 03:24:16 am
Worth the time to read this! Thought provoking! No so worth it! 😊
8/25/2015 02:20:27 pm
Oh, Kitty. I wish I could hug you tight. Allow yourself to cry. Honor your grief and give it time. Time won't heal everything but it does give you a chance to come to a certain peace with your new reality and heal some of the broken parts of your soul. I am so sorry for your loss.
7/11/2016 06:25:50 pm
12/15/2016 09:50:49 pm
I just read this again and it was meant to be. My sister passed away in Aug this year and I am so lost. Although we lived 4hrs apart and didn't talk often there still was that connection and the don't have ti anymore and now it's christmas and family and the whole thing. I had to quit a job of 14yrs that I adored, home health, because I couldn't function. I've thrown myself into housework... The kind where you scrub every nook and cranny, almost ocd like. Your words made me have a different perspective even if only for a short time.
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