There are times in which I feel as if I am living among the dead. I have had four pregnancy losses, my twenty year old son’s demise, my Mom’s death, my Dad’s death, my ‘Mumsy’s’ death ( a woman who never had children, and because my mom died when I was twenty, she and I ‘adopted’ one another), eleven friends have died, my only sister died, and two brother-in-laws have died. This list does not include other relatives and friends that have also passed on along the way. So, so many that have gone ahead of me.
None of them have ceased to exist. Their ‘Shadows’ often cross my mind. The love of each still lives on in my heart; I still tear up at the thought of them all. Memories of smiles and even friction warm my heart. I am so grateful for every shadow that exists. They do not frighten me; they remind me of Life. Yes, their memories and the ‘knowing’ that they still exist somewhere refresh me through the tears. Their existences on earth all impacted me to some degree or another and are a part of who I am. From each, I received some sort of gift. Each taught me something; each left behind a treasure of value. I honor them all. Even my very first friend, Randy, who I repeatedly got in trouble with at a mere three years of age and who was killed in the Vietnam War, has left me a smiling memory of youthful gumption…impish innocence.
Psalm 23: (KJV)
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Each has blessed my life. Though painful tears of the ‘missing’ often cloud my days, their Light brightens it. They have all added a fullness to my existence. I am who I am because God allowed each to be part of my journey. I am grateful to have known them all. Loving them and having been loved by them expanded the tent of my heart. With each, my heart became fuller. None of what they have given to me can be taken away from me. I am stronger from the Love that took root in my life from having encountered them all. I prefer those shadows to the lack of them.
“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before–more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
― Charles Dickens
Though great grief and sorrow can be excruciating, at times, especially in remembrance of my children, I would not trade an ounce of it to have not had them in my life for however long they remained. If I knew consciously in advance that I would someday have to embrace such sorrow, if I had a choice and God had somehow told me: “You can have them but only for so long”, I still would have responded with great Joy and said: “Yes! Please!” with exuberance. That is the uniqueness of Grief; sorrow and Joy exist side by side. Yes, there are times when the Shadows are dark, but a shadow does not exist unless the sun is shining down.
As I look from the isle, o’er its billows of green,
To the billows of foam-crested blue,
Yon bark, that afar in the distance is seen,
Half dreaming, my eyes will pursue:
Now dark in the shadow, she scatters the spray
As the chaff in the stroke of the flail;
Now white as the sea-gull, she flies on her way,
The sun gleaming bright on her sail.
Yet her pilot is thinking of dangers to shun,–
Of breakers that whiten and roar;
How little he cares, if in shadow or sun
They see him who gaze from the shore!
He looks to the beacon that looms from the reef,
To the rock that is under his lee,
As he drifts on the blast, like a wind-wafted leaf,
O’er the gulfs of the desolate sea.
Thus drifting afar to the dim-vaulted caves
Where life and its ventures are laid,
The dreamers who gaze while we battle the waves
May see us in sunshine or shade;
Yet true to our course, though the shadows grow dark,
We’ll trim our broad sail as before,
And stand by the rudder that governs the bark,
Nor ask how we look from the shore!
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at: Xulon Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and DeeperShopping. Additional international retailers: http://www.foyles.co.uk/witem/biography/gifts-from-the-ashes,jude-gibbs-9781498496728 http://www.upliftvstore.com/product.asp?sku=9781498496728 Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Also, see a more complete list at: http://www.directtextbook.com/isbn/9781498496728?geis=y Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))