Taking Solace in the Memories

It's always hard to lose someone you love. Thinking of a dear friend today, I wanted to make mention of something that's very hard to talk about and go through but is a part of life. The pain of grief can render us irreconcilable. We cannot be comforted. The loss hurts so deeply that it breaks us. Everyone grieves in their way and in their own time. David Harkin's prose titled "Remember Me" has brought me strength in times of loss.

Do not shed tears when I have gone but smile instead because I have lived.

Do not shut your eyes and pray to God that I'll come back but open your eyes and see all that I have left behind.

I know your heart will be empty because you cannot see me but still I want you to be full of the love we shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live only for yesterday or you can be happy for tomorrow because of what happened between us yesterday.

You can remember me and grieve that I have gone or you can cherish my memory and let it live on.

You can cry and lose yourself, become distraught and turn your back on the world or you can do what I want - Smile, wipe away the tears, learn to love again and go on. 

"I can't go on. I must go on. I'll go on." - Samuel Beckett*

*David Harkin was said to have frequently added Samuel Beckett's line at the end of this work.

Recently, at a memorial service an idea that was shared reached me deeply. The service leader said we take an incredible risk letting ourselves love and be loved. That is the utter truth. We risk a lot when we love someone so much - our friend, parent, a child, or partner. We risk losing them someday. Sorrow swells/but eventually, we can learn to hold onto what we had instead of what we lost.

Harkin's words ring true. Think of all you have gained from the presence of that life that you've shared in. Give thanks for the days you had together, learning from one another, experiencing life. That's what we have. We get that just for being here. It's such a gift. Each day, and in the darkest moments, it must be recalled as that. Being alive is a miracle.  Now that we're here, what we do with it is up to us.  Choosing love and happiness is a risk we take to comprehend the experience of living. It is what our loved ones want for us when if only perhaps we are ready and in small doses.

By SOIR - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4224276

Headlining photo: By Wingchi Poon