Tag: loved ones
When I was twelve years old, some forty-eight years ago, I walked into gym class at school one day, and there was a new girl I did not know. I could immediately tell that she was very timid and uncomfortable. I also noticed that she knew a girl I was acquainted with. That girl’s name was Molly. She and I had several classes together. Molly introduced us, and there began what would become a life-long friendship with my “bestie” Kalynn.
When I tell you that Kalynn was shy, I mean she was painfully shy! I considered myself shy, but I felt sorry for Kalynn. She would even break out in hives from her anxiety. But there was just something about this quiet girl that I felt drawn to. I liked her. The more I got to know her, it was evident that we had many things in common other than shyness. My favorite thing being Art. It was my best subject, and Kalynn was extremely talented at both drawing and painting. She had been taking private lessons for some time. I was in awe of her artistic abilities.
We spent lots of time outside of school. Going to the mall and eating out, but mostly just talking. I could talk to Kalynn about anything. She was understanding and sweet, and we seemed to see eye to eye on almost any subject. The more time the two of us spent together, the closer we became.
Before we knew it, we were graduating high school together. The majority of my friendships ended with graduation. But my friendship with Kalynn got stronger. We saw each other even more. Shopping, doing lunch, even double dating with our new boyfriends.
Before we knew it, we were both engaged to be married to said boyfriends. Kalynn was married in August, and I was a bridesmaid at her wedding. I was married that November. Unfortunately, Kalynn married a Navy guy. That meant she would need to move away to wherever his job may take him. Her first time away landed her in upstate New York. I missed my bestie tremendously.
My life took a direction that was so new to me. Right away, I was pregnant with my first child. This was before computers or cell phones, and my bestie was too far away. I had no other friends now. There was no one to give me a baby shower. No friend to talk to about all the new things happening in my life. It was a very lonely and challenging time for me. But I gave birth to a healthy baby girl and, 19 months later, gave birth to her little sister. Now I was married and a mommy of two.
Finally, Kalynn and her hubby moved back to town. Kalynn was sad because she also wanted children. Here I had two already, and she was finding it difficult to get pregnant. But that was about to change. Soon she was pregnant for the first time. She gave birth to a healthy little girl. Not too long after, she gave birth to another beautiful baby girl.
Our friendship seemed to be exactly where we had both wanted it for so long. Here we were, living in the same area, both married, and each a mommy to two little girls. We saw each other as much as our time would allow. We got our girls together for play dates, trips to McDonald’s, and the circus. We shared their birthdays with each other. When it was Kalynn’s birthday, I would make her a homemade cake. When it was my birthday, she would, in turn, bake me a cake.
Our friendship continued until Kalynn became pregnant with her third child. Another bouncing baby girl. I, too, had been hoping for a third baby and was feeling down that I couldn’t have one. When I visited Kalynn and her newest addition, I felt hope holding her newborn. A couple of months later, I was also pregnant with my third. You guessed it, another little girl. That made three little girls for each of us. I felt complete.
Unfortunately, my husband’s career took our family sixteen hours away when I was pregnant with our third daughter. I would have to be without my bestie again at a significant time in my life.
I missed the birthday parties for our girls, the birthday cakes for one another, the lunches, play dates with our girls, and everything else our wonderful friendship brought. But we stayed in touch the very best we could, first with old-fashioned snail mail. Then by emails, followed by messaging or chatting online. And we continued always to send each other greeting cards for holidays.
Nowadays, we continue to stay in touch primarily through social media. Kalynn just recently learned the joys of being a grandmother. All three of her girls are grown and successful. So are mine. I had grandchildren by the time I was forty-one.
I still refer to Kalynn as my bestie, and she refers to me as her bestest. I feel she is a part of my family more than a friend. She is so unique and special to me. It is hard to put into words just how special. We have known each other for so long and have gone through so many things together. I know for sure that she will forever be my bestie.
With the holidays over and a new year born, I have been in a reflective mood. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that we lost a very significant family member this past year, which left a hole that no one can ever fill. Through the process of grieving, I remember not only the lost loved one, but the many others now missing from my life, which has put the question into my mind: how will people remember me?
When my mother passed away, 19 years ago this month, I remember feeling a wave of fond memories of her. Anyone who knew my mother well enough knew that in her later years she could be very difficult to get along with at times. She suffered from debilitating chronic pain, and there was not one hour of any day in her last 15 years on earth when she was not in constant pain. She could be very harsh at times and hurtful with her words. Being older myself, I now know that was the pain talking and not my real mother’s heart. But at the time, when I was in my 30s, I did not understand. So why, upon hearing of her passing from this world, did I experience that instant healing from all the bad memories of the 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 were no longer an issue?
I still remembered the times I had not gotten along with my mother for whatever reason, and all of those memories were there if I chose to confront them, but instead 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 in 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 and she did many, many things right! Unfortunately, it is human nature for us to remember, and to 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, which was another welcomed blessing. Then I got to thinking that maybe this was God’s way of comforting us, as His promise is to comfort us in our grieving. So maybe that is the answer as to why.
I have recently witnessed this again through the experience of my own children, as the loved one we all lost last year was their dad. My ex-husband, who had remained a close friend, had suffered for years with a lot of problems, sometimes very serious problems that not only affected him but everyone who loved him, especially our children. But I watched each of my daughters be blessed by the same experience I had when grieving over my own parents, an 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 all of his problems, so it did surprise me that my children remembered so many good parts of their dad. I had always thought that the painful times would leave a permanent cloud over their relationships with him, but much to my surprise, and relief, each of my daughters received the blessing that I had with the loss of my parents in that they can speak so highly of the real man their dad was—his goodness, his love for them and for others, and all 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 monumental as a parent’s passing.
So back to my question: how will people remember me? I can’t seem to 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 I’m not supposed to. 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 put aside all of those differences, conflicts, hurt feelings, and remember only the good parts of those loved ones while were all still on the earth together, if we could remember only the positives that are indeed stored in our minds right along with the bad! Why is the negative always in the front of our brain’s filing cabinet? It seems to be human nature, but is there a way that we can change it? I think it is worth 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 feel 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. And 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