LOSING A LOVED ONE
This message contributed by Lindsay’s Aunt Brenda was written by 21 year old Melissaa Christinee who lost a young family friend Daniel Savage who died on his birthday in a gravel pit.
If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live without you. A.A Milne Winnie The Pooh
In this life, I don’t think there is anything that causes more ache than losing a loved one. The pain it brings puts physical hurt practically on a pedestal, and goes beyond mental devastation. For death is something that we cannot reverse, something that we cannot mend, something that seems to steal away and rob us of one of the most unique and non replicable wonders known to man — the soul of someone we consider our friend, our family.
Death leaves us trying to fill a void that seems dark, hollow, and virtually empty. Those moments when all you can feel, all that you want to hear, is the laugh or smile of those who are no longer here. When you would give every dollar you own to just spend a day in that same comfort of their presence. When you see a picture of their face, and their eyes, and their voice echoes in your memory making you sink into nostalgia. An old piece of clothing, their scent still lingering in a seemingly unfair way. Unfair because our mind cannot grasp the fact that they are no longer the physical beings that we could reach out to and touch. Unfair because they aren’t a phone call, an e-mail, a walk, or a plane ride away anymore. It seems unfair because the one thing that drives us in life, that fuels are minds and gives us passion, ambition, and desire has us running in circles, lost, searching for treasure on an empty tank.
This driving thing seems to be imprinted into our DNA. It’s a feeling that is beyond comprehension. Nothing can conquer it. Intoxication cannot suppress it, emotion cannot express it, and words cannot soothe it. This burning feeling which we cannot give a color or a shape to has been given a name which in language and literature is almost used in a begging attempt to try to bring adequate justice to the feeling. This name is Love. Love is rooted deep within all of us, love lies at the center of each of our beings. Perhaps when man put a name to this incredible feeling and tried to objectify it, it only furthered our confusion towards the thing which we could all relate but not describe. And Love is a bag of many mixed emotions, strong enough to drive us to extremes.
There are stories that date back through human history of Love and Love lost. Hearts that start to deteriorate from broken minds. There’s a story of two dogs that were lifelong friends and would laze around under an old oak tree’s shadow in the heat of the Summer. When one of the dogs died, the other refused to eat. His owner gave him a treat and begged him to eat it. The dog took the treat out to the tree, broke it in half, dug a whole in the ground and buried one half, ate the other and fell asleep. As the story goes, he never awoke. There’s the story behind the mysterious cuddling skeletons which Archeologists date back to the Neolithic period, found at a site 25 miles south of Verona. Scientists claim this find to be extraordinary, simulating an eternal embrace. Or the folklore tale of the Mother Bear and her three cubs who were separated by a storm. In the midst of chaos Mother Bear told her cubs, “do not worry my loves, for I will wait for you over on that hill. I will wait for you until you return” before the wind and waves tore them apart in separate directions. Mother Bear washed upon land, and waited and waited for her cubs that never came. Over the ages she was covered in dirt and rock. Now known as Bear Mountain, she still waits.
The power of love drives us without fear into the unknown, the unthinkable, and often the unreasonable. When we would do anything in our power to help, provide, and protect those we love. And when we cannot, our minds literally will not allow it. Love does not know surrender.
But, what I think we all forget in the chaos of our pride and determination, is that Love doesn’t need to surrender to death. The energy that is love outlasts the physical. This is proved in the feeling we get when we relive memories, and we swear that this person we see in our conscience is still with us. It is proven in our dreams, when we hear their voices and mannerisms. When little things remind us of them, when we can just feel their presence but cannot explain it. I find comfort in knowing that time is theoretical, and that each memory is a blessing. The gift of having memories of those we love is irreplaceable. Memories that last only seconds, or memories which span years.. Each piece of memory is a piece of something that still exists so brilliantly that even science cannot explain it to us. We often get so wrapped up in our own physical lives that we forget how incredible it is that we really are part of something so much bigger, an energy that cannot be measured in material, scales, or even lifetimes.
So the next time you feel the exasperation of an aching heart, remember that you have memories of Love and that the Love that you feel is still very much alive. Take time to tell those you love who are still here that you indeed Love them, and your Love will live with them forever. The beautiful thing about the contrast of Love and death is that Love so greatly overcomes. We can explain death easily. It is the end of the physical. But to even begin to describe the feeling we get when we Love, our human minds are quite simply inept to describe something so heavenly. “All is mere ashes and dust – all, except the Temple within us. It is ours, and with us forever”. Vladimir Maximov
What would you do?….you make the choice. Don’t look for a punch line, there isn’t one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the same choice? At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: ‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things in my son?’ The audience was stilled by the query. The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.’ Then he told the following story: Shay and I had walked past a park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps. I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’ Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart. The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was still behind by three. In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again. Now, with two outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat. At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball. However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher. The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman. Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game. Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to first! Run to first!’ Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled. Everyone yelled, ‘Run to second, run to second!’ Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball, the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman’s head. Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home. All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay’ Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third! Shay, run to third!’ As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’ Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team ‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world’. Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day! AND NOW A LITTLE FOOT NOTE TO THIS STORY: We all send thousands of jokes through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending messages about life choices, people hesitate. The crude, vulgar, and often obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces. If you’re thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you’re probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren’t the ‘appropriate’ ones to receive this type of message. Well, the person who wrote this article this believes that we all can make a difference. We all have thousands of opportunities every single day to help realize the “natural order of things.” So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a choice: Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process? A wise man once said every society is judged by how it treats it’s least fortunate amongst them.
“The Train” – special thanks to Amber for contributing this presentation to Lindsay’s site”
There once was a woman who woke up one morning,
looked in the mirror,
and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
‘Well,’ she said, ‘I think I’ll braid my hair today.’
So she did and she had a wonderful day.
The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror
and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
‘H-M-M,’ she said,
‘I think I’ll part my hair down the middle today.’
So she did and she had a grand day.
The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed
that she had only one hair on her head.
‘Well,’ she said, ‘today I’m going
to wear my hair in a pony tail.’
So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.
The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed
that there wasn’t a single hair on her head.
‘YAY!’ she exclaimed.
‘I don’t have to fix my hair today!’
Attitude is everything.
Be kinder than necessary,
for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…
It’s about learning to dance in the rain.
I was at the corner grocery store buying some early potatoes. I noticed a small boy, delicate of bone and feature, ragged but clean, hungrily appraising a basket of freshly picked green peas.
I paid for my potatoes but was also drawn to the display of fresh green peas. I am a pushover for creamed peas and new potatoes. Pondering the peas, I couldn’t help overhearing the conversation between Mr. Miller (the store owner) and the ragged boy next to me.
‘Hello Barry, how are you today?’
‘H’lo, Mr. Miller. Fine, thank ya. Jus’ admirin’ them peas. They sure look good.’
‘They are good, Barry. How’s your Ma?’
‘Fine. Gittin’ stronger alla’ time.’
‘Good. Anything I can help you with?’
‘No, Sir. Jus’ admirin’ them peas.’
‘Would you like to take some home?’ asked Mr. Miller.
‘No, Sir. Got nuthin’ to pay for ’em with.’
‘Well, what have you to trade me for some of those peas?’
‘All I got’s my prize marble here.’
‘Is that right? Let me see it’ said Miller..
‘Here ’tis. She’s a dandy.’
‘I can see that. Hmmmmm, only thing is this one is blue and I sort of go for red. Do you have a red one like this at home?’ the store owner asked.
‘Not zackley but almost..’
‘Tell you what. Take this sack of peas home with you and next trip this way let me look at that red marble’. Mr. Miller told the boy.
‘Sure will. Thanks Mr. Miller.’
Mrs.. Miller, who had been standing nearby, came over to help me. With a smile she said, ‘There are two other boys like him in our community, all three are in very poor circumstances. Jim just loves to bargain with them for peas, apples, tomatoes, or whatever.. When they come back with their red marbles, and they always do, he decides he doesn’t like red after all and he sends them home with a bag of produce for a green marble or an orange one, when they come on their next trip to the store.’
I left the store smiling to myself, impressed with this man. A short time later I moved to Colorado , but I never forgot the story of this man, the boys, and their bartering for marbles.
Several years went by, each more rapid than the previous one. Just recently I had occasion to visit some old friends in that Idaho community and while I was there learned that Mr. Miller had just died. They were having his visitation that evening and knowing my friends wanted to go, I agreed to accompany them. Upon arrival at the mortuary we fell into line to meet the relatives of the deceased and to offer whatever words of comfort we could. Ahead of us in line were three young men. One was in an army uniform and the other two wore nice haircuts, dark suits and white shirts…all very professional looking.. They approached Mrs. Miller, standing composed and smiling by her husband’s casket. Each of the young men hugged her, kissed her on the cheek, spoke briefly with her, and moved on to the casket. Her misty light blue eyes followed them as, one by one; each young man stopped briefly and placed his own warm hand over the cold pale hand in the casket. Each left the mortuary awkwardly, wiping his eyes.
Our turn came to meet Mrs. Miller. I told her who I was and reminded her of the story from those many years ago and what she had told me about her husband’s bartering for marbles. With her eyes glistening, she took my hand and led me to the casket. ‘Those three young men who just left were the boys I told you about. They just told me how they appreciated the things Jim ‘traded’ them. Now, at last, when Jim could not change his mind about color or size…..they came to pay their debt.’
‘We’ve never had a great deal of the wealth of this world,’ she confided, ‘but right now, Jim would consider himself the richest man in Idaho..’
With loving gentleness she lifted the lifeless fingers of her deceased husband. Resting underneath were three exquisitely shined red marbles.
The Moral: We will not be remembered by our words, but by our kind deeds. Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath…
IT’S NOT WHATÂ YOU GATHER, BUT WHAT YOU SCATTER THAT TELLS WHAT KIND OF LIFE YOU HAVE LIVED
I BELIEVE IN ANGELS
This is a wonderful story, and I do believe in angels!
From Aunt Maureen
As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children an untruth. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. However, that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.
Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he did not play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. In addition, Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big ‘F’ at the top of his papers.
At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise.
Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners… he is a joy to be around..’
His second grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is an excellent student, well liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.’
His third grade teacher wrote, ‘His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn’t show much interest, and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.’
Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, ‘Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class.’
By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist. Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, ‘Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.’
After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, writing and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her ‘teacher’s pets..’
A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.
Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in life.
Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honours. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favourite teacher he had ever had in his whole life.
Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favourite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer…. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.
The story does not end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he had met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit at the wedding in the place that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom. Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. Moreover, she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together.
They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, ‘Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.’
Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, ‘Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.’
(For you that don’t know, Teddy Stoddard is the Dr. at Iowa Methodist in Des Moines that has the Stoddard Cancer Wing.)
Warm someone’s heart today. . . pass this along. I love this story so very much, I cry every time I read it. Just try to make a difference in someone’s life today? tomorrow? just ‘do it’.
Random acts of kindness, I think they call it!
‘Believe in Angels, then return the favour’