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
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 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.
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.