Our loved ones never really leave us; we carry them with us forever.
I wake up thinking of mom, her smile, her joy at seeing her family arrive unexpectedly in church on Mother's day. I see her outstretched arms as she greets her children and grandchildren. I see her reach way up to give her tall son-in-law and hug. I can see her fretting around the kitchen on Christmas day. I still feel her pain as I remember her tears as she said good-bye to two sons. The words "he's no longer in pain" ring in my ears, when talking about Paul's death. Her unwavering faith in her Father God's goodness inspires me. Her love and acceptance of others tempers my behaviour.
I hear a song and it reminds me of Paul, his shy smile, the silly expressions he used like "gaganoons!" and "hold onto your hats we're going for a hay ride!" I remember the joy on his face every month as he received another "book of the month" as a child. I picture us playing games well into the night to ward off the nightmares he experienced. The look of pride on his face as he held his first niece Tina fills my mind. Paul's struggle with mental illness has given me a tender heart toward those who struggle with addictions, depression or other illnesses. It has taught me to realize that often the people the world considers weak or even lazy are anything but.
Some one tells me about a broken TV and I am instantly reminded of David who could fix almost anything electronic. I remember David running pretty much everywhere as a kid and young man. I think of the funny voices he used at times. How he loved to use our video camera saying " I prefer to be behind the camera not in front of it" in a sort of Groucho Marks voice. I remember his love for scary movies and anything American. I can see David's enthusiasm for seat belts until it became the law to wear one, then he would mutter "strapped down like an animal!" David's differentness has made me sensitive to those we consider the "other." When I meet someone "different", it reminds of David's longing to be accepted and it influences my attitude.
Our loved ones never leave us; we carry them with us forever. However, it is more than just memories we carry and our lives are more than just touched by those closest to us; their essence is intertwined with ours. We look at our lives and cannot pull the threads of our loved ones lives from ours. Their lives mesh with ours and create the tapestry that is life.