No matter how expected a person’s passing is, there is always a hole left in the lives of the living. Things are left undone, words unsaid, lingering questions are unasked. Guilt that perhaps something more could or should have been done for the person while they still lived settles permanently in the corners of the souls of those closest to them.
Some regrets I carry with me as I move forward in a world with a grandmother-shaped hole in it:
- I wish you could have held my firstborn in your arms just once. My future child would not have been your first great-grandchild, but I know you would have been as thrilled as you were every other time.
- I wish I had tried harder and gotten published sooner so you could have read one of my books. I know you would have enjoyed my stories as much as I’ve always enjoyed yours.
- I wish I had spent more time asking questions about your life. There are so many unfilled gaps in my knowledge of the narrative of your life, and every one must remain a mystery now.
- I wish I had said “Thank you” and “I love you” more often and more enthusiastically.
But one of the things she taught me was to live with strength and integrity. Part of that is not dwelling on regret but rather looking towards the future and carrying only the good forward. I will not wallow in sorrow. Instead, I choose to remember the rich legacy left behind.
- All the things you taught me, from baking secrets to caring about the well-being of people I had never and would never meet.
- Sixty-nine years of love and companionship with a husband who was also a partner.
- The amazing adventures of a long life and the lives you touched around the world.
- The pure joy you took in simple things, from sunset over the lake to music played by family.
- Your bright spirit, enquiring mind, unquenchable optimism and boundless love.
They say that as long as the dead are remembered by the living they too continue to live on. I have only to look at all the amazing people who remember to realize this is true. Perhaps I will not remember every moment of every day, but the gifts and lessons bestowed on me by one loving, enlightened lady will never fade into darkness. I choose to celebrate her amazing life rather than mourn her passing. So long as I remember she is not truly gone.
Never forgotten, always missed, celebrated forever.