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Death and the memories we leave behind

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This weekend was a tough one. On Saturday morning, bright and early, my husband and I found out that a close friend of ours had died. She was more than a friend, she was a godmother to our two sons and a part of our family.

What made this death even more difficult to accept was how sudden it was, how young she was (she was only 35 years old) and the fact that this was the first time that someone who my sons loved immensely had died.

Along with us as adults having to come to terms with her not being here, we had to watch our son’s face quiver as we told him that he would never see his Aunty “Shammy” any more. Completely broke my heart.

As the weekend went on and the reality started to sink in, I started to realize just how much of a part of our family she really was. It was one of those things you don’t really pay that much attention to until the person is gone, but every important part of lives included her.

My first son’s first steps were towards her. He was trying to get whatever it was that she was eating at the time because he loves to eat. She made his first birthday cake. She used to control his unruly hair when he was younger, before he got his first hair cut and when I had no idea what I was doing. So all of those pictures of him when he was a baby and looked presentable, all because of her.

She was one of 14 people at our very intimate wedding. When the hubby and I wanted to get away for a weekend or a date night, she would jump in to babysit, without any hesitation. The miserable puppy that I wrote about in a previous post, she was the one who brought him into our lives.

So many aspects of our lives, so many memories included her and it is difficult to think that all of our new memories will be without her.

My son, I have to say, has been stronger than I imagined. Every now and then he may ask some questions or make some statements that melt your heart such as “I thought Aunty “Shammy” would be here forever” or “I’m ok, at least I still have you and my other Aunties”. He even asked if her mom could live with us now that she was gone.

But the thing with death, and innocent statements like those, is that it makes you very aware of your own mortality and it is scary. It forces you to realign your priorities and to see the bigger picture in life. The worldly possessions that we stress about and give our all to achieve, in the grand scheme of things, are not as important as we make them. These are not the things that people will remember when we take our last breath.

Worldly possessions make life more comfortable, I admit,  but they have no value and serve no purpose when we die. No one knows how long we have on this earth and it is more important to spend that time creating memories and experiences for and with your loved ones.

Our friend may not have had many worldly possessions but she lived, she laughed and she loved and her memory will live on.

“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die”

Thomas Campbell, “Hallowed Ground”

 

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