Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Don't you wonder?
Have you wondered about dying? I mean, we know everyone will die, but have you thought about passing before you "plan" to die? I've had that fleeting and panicking thought during a particularly sad, dark spell or even innocently as I drifted off to sleep. It sends my heart racing and begging for more; more time, more happiness, more life. Phrases meant to be inspirational--"Live each day as though it were your last,"--sound trite and tainted with naivety. Even the most comfort-intentioned sentence--"Families are forever,"--is heard and experienced so differently once you have to truly employ your faith to understand an incomprehensible situation.
Brent's little sister, Sheri, told nurses that she was in so much pain she felt like she would die. I don't think she meant it. She couldn't have believed that. None of us believe that we will leave this earth without the many evidences of old age; as though somehow enough wrinkles and grey hair will ease our departure. So, as with many topics since her death, I think differently about leaving my family, friends and earthly home prematurely. A visit to Sheri's gravesite on Memorial Day brought to mind a few more things that I have learned from Sheri's willingness to lead by example...
1. Motherhood brings joy. Sheri loved her little daughters deeply. Sheri and Eric were married for years before they decided to have children. I never heard Sheri regret this decision or wish their before-kids days back. She complained very little and giggled very much while she was a mom.
2. Little things DO count. A few times since Sheri's death, I have sung songs--just for fun--with Abbey and some of her cousins. Each time, Abbey reminds me that her mommy died. I believe that the Primary or fun song that we sing evokes a memory of Sheri because Sheri sung and spent special time with Abbey.
3. Working parents can be fully engaged with their children. Even with a part-time schedule, I find it energy-taxing to work and parent. Sheri and Eric worked their schedules to ensure maximum time with Abbey even if it meant less time for them to be together. Sheri even used commute time to-and-from the sitter's house to play with and teach Abbey.
4. Your children will remember you. Abbey is little, only three. Ava is not yet one and was never physically introduced to Sheri but I know that they know Sheri and feel her. I see small evidences--Abbey reading 'Goodnight, Gorilla' to Ava, silly Elmo voices, tender talking--of Sheri's lasting mark on her daughters' hearts.
5. Your attitude and small actions will define you. Sheri wasn't here long enough. She wasn't. When her too-short life was condensed to memories, Sheri's laugh, kindness, tender heart, humor, sacrifices, example and leadership were mentioned repeatedly by those of us blessed enough to know and love her. She made big and small differences to many.
I love you, Sheri. Miss you too.