Forever is composed of nows. – Emily Dickinson
The news was so unexpected; so devastating; so heart breaking. Her mom suffered a serious illness and then was suddenly gone. There was nothing anyone could do.
I’m heart-broken for this sweet, beautiful daughter, for her family; for all the future moments they will never get to share with their mom. Holidays, proms, graduations, weddings, grandbabies…day to day life. All their tomorrows that won’t have her.
Life, unfortunately, is full of tragedies. Turn on the news these days and that’s all there seems to be. Devastation and heartbreak. There’s no getting your head wrapped around tragedies, either; no making sense of them. There’s no reason or explanation that will ever suffice. They are so inexplicable, so out of the blue, so needless.
Then we, in vain, try to figure out how we could have avoided or prevented the inexplicable, the out of the blue, the needless from happening, but that’s the damnable thing about it…we can’t. Thus grief, heartbreak, and gut-wrenching sorrow set in. We grieve all the could’ves, would’ves, should’ves that will never happen now, never come to fruition. Like salt in a wound.
All we want is for the pain to stop; for things to go back to the way they were, before that tragedy occurred; before that loved one was suddenly taken from us. But Time waits for no one. It will not stop; it will not turn around; it will not go back; only forward…. Time seems cruel.
Time is the thing we cannot see, we cannot grasp hold of and stop. We cannot bend it to our will; we cannot command it. We possess only one weapon, one formidable power, one actionable item against Time.
The ability to cherish.
To cherish our loved ones will not stop the progression of Time. It will not put a stop to its incessant march forward but it will lessen our regrets.
To cherish means to spend time with, listen to, and invest in another. To cherish means to be intentional with our relationships, to value, to love, to honor those we hold most dear. To cherish means we don’t let the last words we speak be those in anger; or to resent or wish away the time we have with those in our lives. (If you’ve done that, stop what you’re doing. Stop reading this blog, pick up your phone – it’s right there next to you – and call that loved one right this minute and make amends. Tell them you’re sorry. Tell them how much you love them. Tell them how much you cherish them. Did you do it? Yes? Great! Now you can keep reading).
We should deliberately cherish those we have in our lives because we never know when our time together will end. We should love, honor and cherish them (it’s not just for newlyweds, you know).
We should love the way we want to be loved. We should honor the way we want to be honored. We should cherish the way we want to be cherished. And then when those we love have parted, grief, sorrow and heartbreak cannot hold sway over us, even if we feel them acutely, because we’ve been an intentional cherisher. And even while we’re in the midst of our grief, we must continue to love, honor and cherish our loved one’s memory by living each day for them, anticipating every tomorrow, pursuing every dream, achieving every aspiration.
Every birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day my kids ask me what I want for a gift. Every time I give them the same answer. Just to spend the day with them. They smile and say that I always say that. It’s because it’s true. Stuff will be forgotten. Stuff will break. Stuff will be, well…just stuff. But memories are forever. The laughter, the conversations, the silliness, the dancing around the room with the grandbabies. All those wonderful, cherished memories that stuff cannot replace. I want what I can cherish. I want them to have what they can cherish.
This week friends came to pay their last respect. This week a family said goodbye to a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt. To them, I want offer this prayer, this hope. In deed, I want to offer this prayer and hope to anyone who is in the midst of their own, grief, sorrow and heartbreak:
‘“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’ Numbers 6:24-26
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Matthew 5:4
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3