Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Love After Loss

It’s true growing old isn’t a privilege extended to everyone. Last weekend, our cousin Julia passed away, leaving behind a shattered world of beloved family members including four kids, husband, mother and siblings.

Those of us left behind can’t wrap our heads around this injustice. How will anything ever set this horrific wrong right? The answer; it won’t. 

When you lose someone to tragedy, it’s so easy to concentrate on the things left unsaid. The deeds left undone.

The things said that we wish we could take back. The things we would DO differently if we had only known.

As far as I can tell, there are two options. You can wrap yourself up in bondage so great, you’ll never be released. You can dwell on the past in a way that ties you up for the rest of your Earthly life.

And, then when you arrive in Heaven in the presence of the Almighty God, you can hug your loved one, flesh to flesh, and tell them how you pined for them on Earth. How you spent years wishing you had treated them differently. How you wished you could have said I love you one last time. How you wouldn’t have spoken so harshly to them.

How you let it consume your life because you couldn’t forgive yourself. I can almost see the horrified expression of someone hearing you did all of this in their name.

Or, option number two, when you see them again, you can tell them that you lived your life well in their honor. You loved your spouse, your kids and you represented them on this planet when they couldn’t be here to do it themselves. You took your regrets and turned them into loving acts.

I’ve spent years living regret and I wouldn’t pick that for anyone. Our loved ones who have passed on wouldn’t pick it for us.

For those of us who knew Julia, can we agree she wouldn’t want it either? Instead, can we stand the gap for her here on Earth?

Can we love her kids well? Can we love her husband well?

She would certainly do it for anyone of us.

We're still here to witness the milestones. We can be there when her kids graduate from high school. We can be there when they get married. We can represent her in a way that would make her proud. 

Of course, it won’t be the same. But when we see her again, we can tell her we gave it our all. We didn't let the legacy she created waste away.  Instead of dwelling on the should haves, we showed up and loved her family. We supported Derek and the kids in a way that meant something.

For you Julie.

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