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August 2, 2013

Today marked the one year anniversary of the death of a long time family friend. She was a dear lady with a heart of gold; truly loved by everyone who ever met her. Our early connection, so many years ago was through the American Legion and the Ladies Auxiliary, as well as her family being close and caring neighbors.

As chairperson of the Junior Girls Auxiliary, she taught my girls the meaning of patriotism and the lifelong value of appreciating our veterans, while the girls were in their very early formative years. There were handmade gifts and treats that they delivered to the VA hospital, holiday parades and many other early lessons of giving back to the community.

Early in the spring of 2012, this amazing lady became very sick. During one of my visits with her, she shared a memory of when my girls were just toddlers. Inside our large corner fenced in yard, whenever they saw her car coming around the corner, they would run the entire length of the chain-link fence, continually waving and yelling “Hi” to her until she was out of sight. That memory brought great joy to her; I will never forget the smile on her face, as she was telling the story about my girls! She said she always looked forward to seeing their smiling faces greeting her. At their young ages, they did not know that they were creating happy memories for another person, that would last a lifetime.

Just a few short months later at the funeral home, her daughter was sharing with me the special time that she and her mother had during the previous week, knowing that the end was near they talked about special memories of their 43 years together as mother and daughter. They said their goodbyes, and both were at peace, when God called her home.

While I was so very happy for them both, that they had their special time together, I have to admit that there was a stab of jealousy as well. I know I will never have those final days of sharing thoughts and memories, with my mother. We have not shared our memories for several years now. When I tell my stories, it is a one sided conversation. There is no give and take. I have to believe that those memories are stored away in some dark tunnel in her mind. She may not be able to share them, but they are there – in a safe place.

While I am sad, that we are not able to share our old memories, I am grateful for the new memories that my mom is helping to create now. I hope she knows that she does still make me smile!

I cannot dwell on what we have missed,
I must focus on the precious moments that we are still creating.

  1. HAHA! I can so see your girls doing that! I also can understand your feelings of sadness from no “goodbye”. We spend too much time begging people to stay (as I did with my girls) rather than saying what we really want to say in that moment… watching them slip away, refusing to accept it, brings with it later feelings of guilt, but you are correct to recognize that we cannot dwell on what we have missed. There are those who never even got to say “please stay”.

  2. On another note, am I the only one who sees quilt patterns in the little icons by each comment?

  3. Yes Beth, if anyone can relate to the difficulties of saying goodbye, it is you. The crosses that you had to carry were more difficult than most anyone else can even comprehend. I was at an event today that is shedding more light on what I think my mission is to be through this ride that God has put us on. While I didn’t sell a single book today, I talked to a LOT of tear-eyed people who wanted to share their stories with me. They all said that I have done a brave thing by writing the book and sharing my story. They wanted someone to listen to them, someone who truly understood where they were coming from and what they were feeling. Someone said that we are grieving for people who are not even dead yet, she went on to say that she has been grieving for 17 years!

    I think my mom is still alive today, because there is so much more for me to learn yet, in order to be able to help others who need someone to talk to and understand what this disease is doing to their loved ones as well as the whole family. Not sure how much more I am supposed to learn here!!!!

    As for the quilt pattern on your reply, I thought it was an icon that you chose. Most people have a picture.

  4. Beautiful sharing, dear friend. Hugs for your disappointment. Love…

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