Living and dying … and living on in those we’ve touched

We all know that dying is an inevitable part of living.  Knowing it doesn’t mean we are ever ready to lose a loved one; even though we know it’s one of the few constants in life, knowing it doesn’t make it any easier.  We’re told that those people who have made a difference in our lives – in whatever way – will live on in us even when they are no longer here.  Their spirit and their kindness to us has become a part of who we are.  We know this and we experience it, but it doesn’t make the physical loss any easier.

My husband and I are now of an age where we’re reminded of the dying-is-part-of-living reality entirely too often; it goes with the territory of having had the privilege of living a very full (long) life.  Eventually full lives come to an end … and sometimes they end earlier than they should. This week, family and friends gathered to celebrate the life of my sister-in-law, a total force of nature who passed away unexpectedly – shockingly – just before her 70th birthday. The remembrances voiced by family, friends and also friends of her children at this event spoke to the ways in which she had impacted their lives.  What stood out for each of them were the many and various kindnesses she had shown them throughout the years, going out of her way to make things easier, better, or more fun for them.

And that’s the lesson we need to keep being reminded of, over and over again: we don’t find happiness in how much money we accumulate or how much we own, we find happiness in having warm and meaningful interactions with others. And being generous in spirit and generous of our time are such powerful (and free) ways by which we can have a positive impact on others and also find inner happiness.

Memory

Each of her four grown children spoke at my sister-in-law’s celebration of life. One of my nieces, Clare Currie (my Mom’s namesake), told me ahead of time that she hadn’t known know what to say, and her husband had advised her to just write whatever came to her mind. She told me she had ended up writing a poem, which she had never done before. I’ll be honest, I was blown away by how impactful I found this poem. I hope it’s not Clare’s last writing effort. It’s very much her heartfelt words about her relationship with her mother, but I think it speaks to anyone who’s lost anyone near and dear to them.  I’m sharing Clare’s poem with her permission. I hope you will find in it the same outpouring of love – and expression of the strong continuing “presence” of those close to us who are no longer physically present – that I did. Thank you, Clare. ❤

To You

When I was bored….. she was the person I would call.

When I was frustrated (about something at work or life)…… she was the person I would call.

When I was proud (of something the boys did or of myself)…… she was the person I would call.

When I needed advice (about money, about friends, about just about anything)…… she was the person I would call.

When I just wanted company (during late night baby wakings or long rainy days)…… she was the person I would call.

When I needed my mother. … she was obviously the person I would call.

She was more than my mother. …. She. Was. My. Person.

But it’s okay.

It’s okay that she’s not here anymore because she can still be my person.

It’s okay that she’s not here anymore because when I get overwhelmed…… I listen to her.

It’s okay that she’s not here anymore because when the kids play with the toys she bought…… I see her.

It’s okay that she’s not here anymore because when there are struggles…… I talk to her.

It’s okay that she’s not here anymore because when we laugh and play…… I feel her joy.

It’s okay that she’s not here anymore…… because we will be all right.

It’s okay.

We will be okay.

Care

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43 Responses to Living and dying … and living on in those we’ve touched

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss. May her memory be a blessing. ❤️

  2. debscarey says:

    What beautiful words your niece wrote – thank you for sharing them Jane. A Jewish friend of mine has a saying that I love and think would be appropriate for you all: may her memory be a blessing ❤

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks, Debs. And thank you for this meaningful quote. I fear I will be drawing on that sentiment more and more often as my husband and I traverse the “golden years”.

  3. Bernie says:

    So sorry for your loss. A lot of good lessons to learn from her life and your post.

  4. Jean says:

    It’s a great poem. I’m sorry for your family’s loss.
    Though it’s not anywhere on my blog, I lost my partner last year, over a yr. ago. It has been a long journey. The best thing of our love is that we were constant and dedicated to each other for 29 yrs. And because of this, I am uplifted by memory of his love…it was so reliable and warm.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Oh, Jean, I am so sorry to learn of your loss. There is no tougher journey, for sure. I am glad you have the blessing of all those years of love and warm memories to sustain you, but I know it doesn’t take away from missing the physical presence. 💕

  5. I’m so sorry for your loss, Jane. The poem brought tears to my eyes…

  6. She. Was. My. Person. That says it all. So sorry for your family’s loss, Jane.

  7. Belladonna says:

    Such a beautiful tribute!

  8. Clare’s poem is beautiful. – Marty

  9. So sorry for your and your family’s loss. Yes, we should aspire to leave great memories of warm and meaningful interactions behind, as our legacy. Well said, Jane.

    Deb

  10. Iman Lily says:

    My deepest condolences Jane. May her beautiful memory live on. Thank you for sharing the poem, I found myself tearing up.

  11. Alan Burk says:

    What a beautiful poem and touching thoughts.

  12. LA says:

    💗💗beautifully stated. Thinking of you

  13. Wynne Leon says:

    Oh, I’m so sorry about the loss of your sister-in-law. The poem by her daughter is beautiful.

    Your reflection reminds me my favorite Maya Angelou quote, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” May we all remember to make people feel warm and fuzzy, especially because we don’t know how much time we have left.

    Beautiful post, Jane!

  14. Very sorry for your loss. Such a moving tribute.

  15. Reblogged this on Musings and Wonderings and commented:
    Thoughts on life, love and death.

  16. Thanks for this Jane and indeed it is always difficult to lose someone we love but indeed they do live on in us in a different way. I love your niece’s poem, thank her for me.

  17. heimdalco says:

    A perfect post & a perfect poem about a subject that is sensitive for so many of us at one time or another. My mom was like that poem. I am fortunate to have her answering machine & can listen to her voice in her outgoing message if I want to … but I never have. I hear her voice in my mind & in my heart, where she still is.

    • Jane Fritz says:

      Thanks for this, Linda. If Clare’s poem reminds you of your relationship with your mother then you were/are a lucky girl. They’re always with you, aren’t they. 💕

  18. Rose says:

    Condolences on your loss. Your sister-in-law sounded like a wonderful person and a great example for us all. Thank-you for sharing her celebration of life, and Clare’s loving poem. ❤️

  19. Just sent to a friend, thanks!

  20. I’m sorry for your loss, Jane. Sudden deaths are shocking at any age. May your many happy memories offer some comfort.

  21. Margaret says:

    ❤️
    Love your niece’s poem Jane. What you say rings true for me too. Sorry for your sadness, your sister in law was still young.

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