Often in our society when someone dies many people offer support with words of comfort. The most common phrase I can think of is, I’m so sorry for your loss. Having to live without the physical presence of our loved one is an enormous loss, in fact, we can dwell on this loss every day. But have you ever stopped to consider the things that you didn’t lose after their death?
Our 8-year-old son, Garrett, was accidently shot and killed in a hunting accident in 2008. And while there is a definite loss, I am reminded every day of the things that I didn’t actually lose after Garrett died.
I didn’t lose the memories of the way his eyes twinkled when he smiled or laughed, in fact, I’ve come to see that memory as a gift.
I didn’t lose all of the Pirates of the Caribbean memorabilia that he treasured so much, in fact, I still have much of it around our house. These things never fail to make me smile.
All of his possessions seem to have this effect on me. These things have the ability to recreate memories. Our memories really are a way of holding on to our loved ones and the parts of them that we don’t ever want to forget.
I try to think of my memories as treasures that I can pack in a little suitcase in the corner of my mind and take them with me wherever I go. There is no limit to the number of times I can open it and somedays it gets opened only a few times. But there always comes a time when I need a memory to relieve some loneliness and I can spend hours with it before I pack it away for another day.
These memories didn’t get lost with Garrett; I know where they are and I can find them whenever I want because I get to keep them forever.
For a long time, I worried that I might forget the way Garrett’s voice sounded or the way his hair felt when he let me run my fingers through it. But I’ve realized these treasured memories are planted so deeply in my heart that they’ll never be lost. Because ultimately, the most important thing that I will never lose is my love for him.
The next time someone says to you I’m so sorry for your loss try to consider the things that you didn’t lose. I know you can think of something right now.