To those of us who have dearly loved and then lost a wife, a husband, a father, a mother, a brother, a sister, a son, a daughter, a grandparent, an aunt, an uncle, friends, pets, and so on—we know the pain of loss. We miss that hug, that kiss, that ‘I love you,’ that smile over a cup of coffee in the morning; we feel that loss keenly. Our emotions can be all over the place, from tears to laughter and back again; it is a roller coaster ride with no brakes.
However, if we can remember all the love, the time together, the jokes and laughter, the life changes, the passage of time with those we have loved beyond all others–we can live in the joy of those richest of times. We can embrace the joy, laugh over memories, look through the scrapbooks that commemorate so many celebrations, holidays and gatherings—then those we love are back with us again.
This is not to say that we should live in past memories, but to go forward strengthened by those memories. Each new thing we do as we move forward without that loved person by our side, we can say “wouldn’t she/he get a kick out of this!” And how do we know that they aren’t with us in spirit, laughing right along with us?
It is said that, when you find a coin or a feather, it is a message from an angel, or a loved one who has gone on before us. Some scoff that this is merely coincidence; people drop coins all the time, and birds lose feathers. Let me just say that I have picked up more coins and more feathers over my lifetime so far that I simply believe these messages. Generally I can pretty much tell who left them, too.
My grandmother always seemed to send me pennies–when she was alive, at the end of each day, she would cull through any pennies she had or found. So when I find a penny these days, I just smile and say, ‘thanks, Ba!’ Now my mom seems to favor quarters. On what would have been Mom’s and Dad’s 60th wedding anniversary on December 27 last year, we found two quarters. Ever since then, I have been finding more of them.
Losing someone we love is traumatic; it’s like losing a leg or an arm. They have always been with us, and now they are gone. However, the joy of that amazing life stays with us, and if we can just remember to embrace the joy of that life, we are never alone. How wonderful, how amazing, how joyous it is to have these glorious memories in our minds and hearts forever! Let the tears come, let us go to therapy if we need it, let us pour our hearts out to a trusted someone–whatever it takes to break through to joy, we must try for it.
Life is amazing, and full of love and loss and redemption and acceptance. The joy is there always; we need only to embrace it.