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The viewing was lovely.

Posted by Sandra on October 19, 2008

My sister-in-law’s viewing and family greet was yesterday.  Her daugher compiled a beautiful slideshow with about 150 pictures for all to see.  From her own birth, to the weddings, to the babies.  Her casket was closed, presumably because of her loss of her hair that she was so proud of.  It was quiet and a little somber, except for the laughter of small children who were oblivious to the meaning of the event. 

But I believe seeing the youth helps heal the wounds of losing the older.  New life, so to speak.  My girls, I know, brought a smile to more than one face in that chapel, and were a positive distraction and another conversation starter for two strangers to meet over. 

It occurred to me, too, that in these situations it always seems like immediate family members are so composed, so recovered… smiling at friends and coworkers, laughing at jokes, all while the casket is off to the side holding the body of the person they once hugged – when I’m sure the turmoil inside makes them want to explode – to run screaming from the church, asking God why He would hurt them this way, why it was time for their loved one to leave.  I’m trying to envision how I would act if my husband passed, and frankly I think nothing short of a straight jacket would suffice… although I’m sure I would need to be strong for my children. 

Holding my big brother and seeing his children deal with the loss of this beloved member of their family had a truly profound effect on me.  As I mentioned in “She’s Gone“, Carol is the closest person to me that I’ve ever had pass.  It affected me in ways I’m not sure I can describe, but I’m sure others have experienced.

I’ve always had a “laid back” perspective of life in general – such as not having fits over a toddler drawing on a wall or jumping on the couch – so many more things are much more important – but the meaning of all that’s going on in our lives, my life, and the world in general really made me think on that long drive home from the church.  There’s so much that simply JUST DOESN’T MATTER in the grand scheme of things.  I can’t imagine my spouse passing, leaving our family without his love, without his leadership and care, without his presence.  The losses would be nearly impossible to survive, but I know we would.  I don’t know how, and I hope I don’t ever have to find out.

I have always strived to be kind, never speaking cruelly to a stranger or a friend, giving the shirt off my back, always to offer help when I can… dropping coins in the red buckets, donating clothing and goods to shelters.  But I need to to more.  I know this now.  And I need to involve the rest of my family.  We need to volunteer some more.  Spend time at my children’s schools sponsoring events.  Increasing my change in the buckets and checks in the mail.  I know I’m blessed in material things, but I’m more blessed in love and family and friends.  If something were to happen to me tomorrow, I want to make sure the slideshow of my life is filled with happiness, laughter, giving, and loving.  I want my family and friends to remember me the way we remembered Carol. 

Today, two days before the 16th Anniversary of my 25th Birthday, a new start.  A new mental attitude.  Really and truly appreciating the important things in my life – family, friends.  All of the people in my life.  I care so deeply for you all, and I’m going to work harder at showing it.  None of us know how long we have left in this mortal world, I am going to ensure the moments are spent well.

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