With the holidays just passing, and a new year birthed, I have been in a remembrance mood. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that we lost a very significant family member this past year. It left a hole that no one or nothing can ever fill again.
Through the process of grieving, I remember not only the loved one I recently lost, but the many others that are missing from my life. And it has put the question into my mind; how will people remember me?
When my mother passed away, 19 years ago this month, I was at once consumed with good memories of her. Anyone who knew my mother well, knew that in her later years, she could be very difficult to get along with at times. My mother suffered from debilitating chronic pain. There was not one hour of any day in her last 15 years on earth that she was not in constant pain. She could be very harsh at times and hurtful with her words.
Of course, now I know, being older myself, that it was the pain talking and not my real mother’s heart. But when I was only in my 30s, I did not understand that concept. So why, upon hearing of her passing from this world, did I receive instant healing from the bad memories of times my mother had hurt me? Was it because she was now free from her pain and once again happy? Or was it because all the negatives had passed with her and was no longer an issue?
I remembered the times I had not gotten along well with my mother, for whatever reason. The memories were there if I chose to confront them. But I felt this peace in my heart that there was no need anymore. And when I did force myself to remember something negative, it no longer affected me. The love was greater! I felt content in remembering every good thing about my mother and feeling the love from her in those memories. It felt right. And I felt very blessed for it!
Please don’t get me wrong. My mother was a great woman! She did many, many things right! Unfortunately, it is human nature for us to remember, and spend more time and energy on something a loved one has done to hurt us. The good things become clouded with the pain.
I noticed that the same thing happened to me with my dad’s passing 8 years later. It was indeed another welcomed blessing. Then I got to thinking that maybe it’s God’s way of comforting us. His promise is to comfort us in our grieving. So maybe that is the answer as to why.
Then, I saw it happen again. This time not to me as personally as before with my parents, but I watched it through my own children. The loved one we lost last year was their dad. My ex-husband, co-parent, and close friend. Anyone who knew my children’s dad well knew he had suffered for years with lots of problems. Sometimes very serious problems that not only affected him, but everyone that loved him. Most especially our children.
I watched each of my daughters be blessed in their grieving by the overwhelming remembrance of the good things that were very much a part of their dad. He was a very good man! And sometimes that got lost in his problems. It did surprise me that my children were able to remember so many good parts of their dad. I had always thought that the painful times would leave a permanent cloud over their relationships. But much to my surprise, and relief, each of my daughters received the blessing that I had with the loss of my parents. They can speak so highly of the real man their dad was. His goodness, his love for them and others, and the wonderful parts that made him who he was. It makes this mom’s heart so full to see my daughters have this positive experience through something so life changing as a parent passing.
So back to my question, how will people remember me? I can’t grasp the thought, or vision, of being remembered with such love and adoration as I have remembered my parents, and how I have seen my daughters remember their dad. Maybe that’s not supposed to happen. Maybe none of us are. Maybe that is something that is only left behind for our loved ones when we are gone. Our way, or God’s way, of comforting them in their time of grief.
But how wonderful it would be if we could seriously put aside our differences with people, lay conflict and hurt feelings to rest, and remember only the good parts of a person now, while we are still on earth together. To remember only the positives that are indeed stored in our minds right along with the bad! Why is the negative file always in the front of the filing cabinet of our brain? It’s human nature, but is there a way that we can change it? I for one, think we should give it a try. How much happier everyone involved could be.
It is my hope that I will be remembered as making a positive impact on those I love. My biggest hope is that they will know, without a doubt, how much I love them. I hope they will remember how hard I tried at life, and even though I may not have succeeded in all things they think are important, that I did succeed in what God put me on the earth to accomplish. I hope they will be happy they knew me, and proud of the person I was. I hope that just maybe; I did something so right that they even learned an important lesson from me. Something that will be of great help to them after I am gone.
How will you be remembered? Something to ponder…JoAnn