Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Make Your Last Words Count

This is the last page of my most memorable college graduation card. I graduated 20 years ago in May and received this card from my cousin. I couldn't have known that these were her last words to me. But less a month later, she was dead, murdered by a stranger in her home at 25.

I've come to expect to be a little morose in June. It is a tough month for me and for my family. Some years I seem a little lighter; this year, I was hit with grief like brick during the Gospel reading about the resurrection of the Widow of Nain's son. I often feel twinges here and there. I can't see this picture of my cousins and me without a reminder one of us is missing. But this was all-out weeping, embarrassing-myself-in-a-public-place grief. I could not stop it.

I have realized anew with forceful strength this year that untimely death is not something you experience once. This kind of loss it is a continual loss. I lose her again at every family reunion, any time I read about violence in the news, anytime I need someone to pray with me for a family member or laugh or cry with me. I see a Yorkshire Terrier (she owned one) and I feel that loss, needlepoint and Disney characters (especially Goofy and I don't why) and I feel her loss. Sometimes I go days, even weeks, or months without feeling it, and then BAM! I'm leveled with a sense that she should be my age, living life on this planet somewhere, and this was NOT what was supposed to happen.

And with this month of sorrow, I found her card in a box of my things. I sat and cried for awhile and then I reflected a little. What a gift to give me, to tell me she was proud of me. There is all kinds of history behind those words, years of competition. She knew my hard work and struggle to get to that moment. And she acknowledged it.

Never fail to say, write, text or Facebook words of support, encouragement, and love to the people in your life who mean the most. Someday those words will be your last. And you will go down in their hearts for what you said to them. When they are sad, they will reflect and yes, miss you. But they will be grateful that you were in their world. And you said what they needed to hear.

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