First off, welcome to the FORT.
Secondly, I am so sorry about your mom.
Worldscrashing, I am so sorry to hear about yours too.
I have found that what helps me the most is talking about my mom. I realize that not everyone is able to do that. But my mom was well liked and had a lot of friends and family and the people that knew her, knew so many funny stories about her, so I find that when I get together with these people we end up laughing a lot and that has helped me quite a bit.
I find stuff almost everywhere I go that reminds me of both my parents and I do get nostalgic and sometimes sad, but for the most part, most of the memories or things that remind me usually can bring a smile to my face as I remember all the good times. I do admit that I was not that way in the beginning, but now, enough time has passed that I can hear a song, or watch a couple dance (my parents LOVED to dance and danced together often) or see something they would have liked and I tend to smile or laugh to myself about it. I know that they wouldn't have wanted me to be sad. In fact, I had the time to talk to them before they went and we talked about a lot and most of it was that they were ready to go and that I was not to let it affect me, but to know they were happy and would be together again and watching over me and my family.
And I've had a couple experiences since they've been gone that I do know they are watching over us.
Anyway, I take my comfort in knowing that they wouldn't want me to mourn them forever, they would have wanted to be remembered with laughter and smiles and I do that whenever possible. I do miss them. I used to talk to my mom daily on the phone and I think I miss that the most.
I'm just glad I do have a lot of memories and photos that sustain me.
I wish the same for all of you. You will find that place where the memories bring more smiles than tears one day. Like I said to Lois, you never really get over it, but you do find a way to live with it. Your life is not the same, but you do find a way to make your life a good one, even though they are no longer a part of it. Well actually they are a part of it. I know that I am who I am because of my parents and so is my daughter. So they live on through me and through her and I think they'd like that. They may be gone from this earth physically, but they are never really gone, not so long as we remember them.
If I may, I'd like to quote part of a eulogy I gave for my friend in March 2006.
He wasn't my parent, but he was a husband and a parent and his family has told me repeatedly that these words have comforted them in the months that followed his death:
It's kind of long and I have edited it somewhat as it was longer than the parts I include here. So bear with me for this extremely long post. But I hope that the words I spoke for my dear friend can help you all find comfort. I know they have comforted me not only for my friend, but the others I have loved that have gone before.
Several weeks ago, I sent C. a letter and in it quoted a poem by Dylan Thomas about dying. The poem starts:
Do not go Gentle into that Goodnight
Old Age should Burn and rave at close of day
Rage, Rage against the dying of the light.
Thomas wrote this poem about the struggle to hold on to life and the importance of living lift to its fullest.
I sent this to C. because he has been my inspiration to do the very same. He struggled mightily to hang on to life and he lived his life every single day to its fullest.
You see, C. H. lived life large. He lived it with passion and he lived it with grace and he lived it with honor. He had an enthusiasm for life that was unmatched. He was the king of the grand gesture, the gracious host, the passionate Buccaneer’s fan. His appetite for life, for travel, for food, for making people happy will never be forgotten by any here today. Everything he did, he did in a big way. If C. was involved, you knew you were going first class. You knew you were going to eat well, laugh hard and leave satisfied, usually with a bag of leftovers.
His passion for living was as contagious as his laugh. And the reason for that passion was the great love he had for (his wife), the light of his life, for (his children), his pride and joy. You gave him a reason for living and for working so hard. He lived everyday of his life working to make your lives better. He thought of you in everything he did. He would want you to remember him as the dad that made every holiday special, the husband that was caring and supportive. He would not want you to be sad today, even though all of us are. He would want you to remember all the fun you had and all the special times you shared, and the trips you took. Remember him as the husband and father that loved you before himself and who put you and your lives before his own. And for this you will remember him as a great husband and a great father. For C.H. WAS a great man. While he was my hero, my friend, my fellow cook and foodie, he was first and foremost, your wonderful, devoted husband and your loving, proud father. You three, his family, were his life. He took the very best care of you that any husband or father can. And you can take comfort in knowing that and in keeping alive your memories of him in your hearts.............
To (his family), He loved you all and he wanted the best for all of you even though sometimes his way of showing it might not have been the easiest. The memories he made for all of you will always be in your hearts. He will live there forever, as long as you are all alive and when you are not, you will be reunited with him. He will be waiting for you, he will be there for us all when its our turn to enter the great goodbye and I’m sure he will be holding a plate of food he wants us to taste. We will always remember how good he made us all feel. And how special it was to be a part of his life.
So I challenge you all today to this: Live life C. Style. Live it large, live it grand, take a huge bite out of it everyday. Taste it, feel it, live it. Make him a part of you by not wasting any second of your life. I challenge you to make the grand gesture, to do the good deed without seeking the credit, to love your family passionately and your friends with enthusiasm, to eat good food and drink good wine, to honor his memory by working hard, playing harder, and loving like there is no tomorrow.
And remember this: No one is ever really ever gone as long as someone remembers them, and we will always remember you, C. H. Your love and laughter will warm our memories for the rest of our days, as we look back on our times with you. Thank you for being you; that wonderful husband, father, brother, son-in-law, cousin, friend, companion, confidant and inspiration.
Our grief over the days and weeks to come and our sadness beyond that pales when we think of the months and years of failing health you endured. And yet you braved it all, showing us courage in the face of the unknown and strength against overwhelming difficulties, all without complaining.
You not only touched many lives, but strengthened and enriched each one with your kind, benevolent spirit, by giving of your precious time to help others while being granted so few years with us. And yet you will always be with us, for we each will carry a part of you in our hearts; your gentleness and love for life will live on in us.