Losing a loved one is horrible. It is lonely, heart wrenching, and can consume you like a flame sucks oxygen from the air. Today is the eighth anniversary of my mother’s death. In June of 2001, she was diagnoses with esophageal cancer. Four months later, she passed away.
I do not tell you this for pity or understanding of my loss, but to inspire you. In the loss of my mother and others who I have loved dearly, I have seen grief impact people both positively and negatively. It seems strange to say that grief can impact you positively, but I firmly believe that if the person had a positive impact in your life then you have the obligation to let their death also positively impact you. Your loved one misses you as much as you do they. They do not wish their death to hurt you, although they know it will.
In the eight years since my mother passed, I have really thought about this issue. I have thought about what she would want me to take from her life. I know she would never have left if she could have helped it and I have found in the years since, that she really hasn’t left me. I find her in the ring I wear, the fabrics I use, my kitchen utensils. More importantly, I have made an effort to keep her with us. I donate flowers in her name at church. I use the items she left behind to impact others in a positive way. I speak of her often to my children.
Death pains us. But what do we say of the one we lost, if we let it consume us as well. Does this behavior honor their memory or tarnish it? Think of those that you have lost. How can you remember them well?