“He died almost twenty years ago,” Linda told me, her voice breaking. “I still miss him, but Kenny says I should forget since it was a long time ago. But every year at Christmas I remember, and it makes me very sad.” Linda’s tears are real, for sure; and Granny hears her pain and offers this advice.
“Tears are good for us, a blessing from the Man Upstairs who really knows our hearts. Just like your body needs a bath, your heart and soul do too. At times when there is joy around, when seasons start to change, when holidays come or special times appear, we remember those we knew before. We think about the good times when we knew those folks and can’t recall the bad. It’s that part that’s like the birth of babies, where pain is part of giving life and hurts us when it comes. But soon the pain of having that baby becomes what we remember less than the child who lives and plays and becomes that part of living, loving, growing, and the life that lies ahead. It’s natural to think about the people who have gone, and tears give us the way to feel our hearts, while memories keep the lives of those we loved still part of who we are.”
“My Mama, she was special. Her life was very hard in Cloutierville. And every holiday this Granny thinks about her as well as babies I have lost. It hurts to think they won’t be here with me again. But they are part of me forever, as they are part of every living creature that has ever walked the earth, which is my joy today, forever, as they are for you as well.”
Linda saw the pictures this Granny has upon the wall and said, “I see so many people here, I do not recognize. I have some pictures too and some stay in my mind. Maybe that’s what it means to live forever, because I have the love and memories I can always feel inside.”
The gift of life we understand; the gift of death we don’t; and Granny knows that feeling well, as years keep flying by. But wisdom comes with things we do not understand, as even Granny’s memories cause pain at the holidays. Yet most of us, if we could live our lives again, would choose suffering the pain of loss that comes when people leave us to have had them in our lives to think about and remember now with love.