She is gone, another friend, one who taught me about the strength of faith in God, one whose grace and elegance I admired. She was feisty and loved to smile and laugh. Now a part of me feels missing. She has died. Did I ever tell her how much she taught me?
It is odd that we never are ready for it, we never believe it is really coming today or tomorrow. Our culture tries to convince us to deny death through all kinds of pills, creams and surgeries. We can look younger for a time; eating right and exercising may improve or prolong our lives, yet we will all die. Most don’t want to die; some fight death when it comes, yet it will happen.
This week I discovered a poem by Margaret Mead that I want to share with you:
To the living, I am gone; to the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated; but to the happy, I’m at peace; and to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot speak, but I can listen.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea — remember me.
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty — remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity — remember me.
Remember me in your hearts and thoughts, your memories of the times we loved, the times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.
So, I am reminded once again that people can live on in our memories. Yet there is more! A part of them is now a part of who we are. Their legacy to us is to carry on the best of who they were to those whom we come in contact with and even beyond to the next generations.
That is why I taught my daughter–in-law how to make Krumkake, just as I was taught by my Swedish great aunt Ruth. In the making she is remembered and her legacy continues. It is as if in dying they turn to us and say “tag, you’re it.” Now it is our turn to make a difference in some way.
As to my recent loss, she boldly, yet with grace shared her trust in God. I will work to do this. This woman was for many the one who greeted others with a smile the first time they visited the church. I can take my turn. I know she was greeted with a smile when she got to her next stop, and heard the words: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
As a person of faith, it doesn’t make me happy when I lose the people I know, care for and love. The pain of loss is devastating and can last to the end of your days. Death comes to life, yet the ones that we love and learned from and experienced life with are never gone. We remember them and carry their legacy into the future for others to see and learn.
Never gone . . .