“Ashes to ashes and dust to dust” seems like such a dark way to portray death. Anyone who has ever lost a beloved knows that death is both cruelly final and endlessly enduring. The love, influence, and lessons the deceased impart doesn’t stop with their heartbeat.
Sprouting from the death of winter into the hope of spring is the fragile bloom of memories that remain in our hearts. It’s a beautiful gift that dulls the thorny sting of loss.
Recently, I attended the rosary of a friend who lost her mother. Comforting the sorrowful and burying the dead are important works of mercy. When my stepfather passed away, I remember well the people who attended the funeral or who stopped by with a meal. It was such a comfort to have our loss acknowledged. It reminds us that even though we lost a loved one, we had not lost love. It envelops us in our cocoon of grief promising life’s joy will reemerge like a butterfly. That’s a beautiful thing to be reminded of when you are grieving.
I didn’t know my friend’s mother but listening to the kind words the priest said about her, I would have liked to. She was obviously a devoted mother who even took in foster children after she raised her own. Her life wouldn’t receive a lot of notoriety in today’s world, but listening to the genuine love her children, husband, and grandchildren had, I would hardly call it ordinary nor think anyone could ask to be remembered for anything more significant. It involved self-sacrifice, putting others first, devotion to God and to her family. It sounded like a quiet life where highlights were large family dinners filled with laughter and full hearts.
Listening to her legacy, made me hope to have a similar one. It inspired me to be a better wife and mother, to cherish my family more, and practice my faith in the small deeds of my day. This woman, whom I never met, made me want to do all of that, proving that even in death we live on. Sometimes, even in people who never met us. The best parts of us live way beyond what any of us will ever know.
That seems less like ashes and more like a spring garden that blooms eternal.
I wrote this last year but I am just now posting it. It somehow seems more meaningful that way — reminding me that lessons of love remain defying the passage of time. How would you like to be remembered?
Read last week’s post here