This week my family will participate in a celebration of life. My sister-in-law has passed from this life. She left us far too young. In thinking of what to say to honor her, I find myself searching for words to express my feelings for her. I did not know her in youth, we met later in our lives. We both had history – and baggage. At that time, I was taken by her caring and open-minded personality; and her mischievous sense of humor. As the years passed, although we lived hundreds of miles apart, our friendship grew, primarily over the internet. She was a giving person who worked with children and animals. She would always comment on my family photos or plans for the day. We shared recipes and discussed current events. She did not judge. She offered insights that were honest, wise and usually funny. I missed her very much when she no longer was able to communicate. I will cherish the memories.
“Remember me and smile, its better to forget – than to remember me and cry”
I recently attended a funeral mass for a woman who I had known for a long time. She lived to her mid-eighties, a full life. As a teacher and mother of six, she influenced many lives. The priest who officiated her Mass was visiting from Africa for the summer. He gave a thought provoking homily about the connections people make with one another and how we impact others just by being ourselves. He spoke of his village, the continuity of life, and the connections between this world and the next. His message was beautiful. Although his homily was delivered by a priest, in a religious setting, the message is truly universal. He continued to say that, in the grand scheme of things, it is not so much “How long we live, but how well we live”. This really resonated with me. He went on to discuss how each individual impacts the lives of many in their time here on this earth through the little connections we make. His words have stayed with me, inspired me and made me think.
I have been thinking of these two people, Cathy and Isabel. I believe that the people that we meet and connect with throughout our lives, all bring something special to us, and we to them. I write often of the light within each of us and how it connects us all. It is a core belief that I hold dear. It is humbling to consider that we are each but one of many that make up humanity as a whole. It is important to remember that our words and actions do affect others. As to those who have departed, I know they still exist in different form. They live on in us – in the memories we carry forward. The bonds of love and friendship are not broken by death.
We are each like one thread in the tapestry, individual and yet attached to many, all integral components of the collective. The single thread alone is strong and beautiful but woven together – a beautiful picture – a story of sorts. Tonight, I don’t have anything prepared for the ceremony tomorrow. I keep thinking of all the little moments and the story we have shared. As Cathy’s loved ones gather tomorrow to celebrate her, we will remember her light. There will be prayer and tears, and I am sure laughter. We will remember her beautiful, individual light.
So yet again, I encourage you as you move forward through life to cherish the connections you make with others. Be aware of your own light and let it S H I N E brightly!