October 18, 2008
My husband, Wally, and I attended the funeral of a friend this weekend. It's the type of experience you never think will happen to you. You have cavalier thoughts before something like this happens that I'm too young to die. I'm way too young to have a friend who has cancer but inevitably it happens and you are smacked back into reality. Being faced with the reality of death often leads you to thinking of many things in your own life.
That day as Wally and I drove to the funeral, we reminisced about Jill and our times with her and her family but we also talked about how our lives would change if one of us died. The one thing I couldn't shake from my mind is how young Jill's children are and how would they remember their Mom. I'm a bit of a cynic and realist by nature and I said the unthinkable in the car that day, "Wally, there is a good chance those children won't remember who their Mom is." It was out there and I said it but what I was really saying was, "Wally, if something happened to me would Benjamin ever really know me?"
To even think that thought, I get a lump in my throat. For the person that dies, the truth is life eventually will go on for their family and friends. It will never, ever be the same but it does go on and that is a good thing -- the right thing. Though, I still wondered how Jill's children will remember her? I say this because I have met children who have lost parents at a young age and as they get older they have vague recollections of their Mom and/or Dad and don't have a real sense of them. Some would argue that is what needs to happen, a possible coping mechanism for the so young and innocent. However, if I was taken from Benjamin's life and someone asked my son "what type of mother I was" or "what was your mom like" and he had little to no answer it would be like losing my life over and over again.
In that car ride when I mentioned this to Wally, he sat and listened and made me a promise. He promised me that it would never happen that Benjamin would always know me. He promised me that my parents, brother and friends would remain close so Ben would know what I meant to each of them. He also promised that whatever life would bring that I would always be Ben's mom and even death couldn't take that away. Having heard those words, I believed it and I believed it for Jill.
It is huge responsibility for those left behind to keep the memory of that person alive. And in my heart, I believe especially for the children. Knowing how much Jill was thought of and loved, I knew Scott, Jill's husband, had made the same promise that he will keep not matter how life changes and goes on.
3 days ago