Today our friend Bob returned to Heaven. He fought a valiant fight and slipped gently into his new healthy body this morning, surrounded by his family, in his home where everything was safe and familiar and loving.
It was the same when my mother in law returned to Heaven, gentle, loving and safe.
I feel so blessed to have shared these moments with people I love. In a world that has become all too fearful of the inevitable, it is comforting, although very sad, to know that we can still embrace the truth that life continues beyond the here and now and love gives us more courage than we thought possible.
I'm struggling though. As with Shannon's return to Heaven, it seems that world should stop for a moment, recognize that life will never be the same, absorb and feel and remember and celebrate and take time to be in these moments. But life knows that no one is ever lost, separation is an illusion and when we are ready, through with all that we came to learn, our eyes will open and we will look into the faces that we have missed so much.
I'm sure I'll be redundant more than once in this blog but I'm remembering the two dreams that I had shortly after Shannon's accident. In the first, I was standing beside her on the hill beside the house where I grew up. She was sitting on a bicycle getting read to dash down the hill. I was frightened and started to cry. She said, "Mom... don't go getting all sad on me. I'll see you on the other side." In the dream I knew that she was referring to the other side of the house where we always made the return trip to the front yard after flying down the hill, but when I woke up, I knew what she was really trying to tell me. Some months later, I dreamed that I was making Christmas cookies. I bent down to lift the cookie sheet out of the oven and realized that she was standing in the kitchen with me. I put the cookie sheet down and threw my arms around her and started to cry. Once again, my wise Angel put it all in perspective,"Mom... why are you crying, I've only been gone for a minute!"
So I believe that's how it is. Those we love are closer than we can imagine. They are busy and happy and living fulfilling lives on their own, but they are watching and loving and waiting and listening for us when we simply want to share something ... the sadness of a friend's struggle, the joy of a new baby, the quiet just before the sun sets or the comfort of lap cats, they are there.
Life will continue. We will share holiday food and old photos and boatloads of hugs and tears and find ways to move forward. We will not let our sorrow numb us to the incredible beauty of life and the precious time we share. We will miss Maw Maw and Shannon and Bob and we will give thanks for the time we have had together and look forward to the reunion we will have.
Even having been there, I don't have the words to offer to my dearest friend ... I don't have a magic wand or any acquired wisdom because of my own journey. I will give her my heart and my shoulder and I will be there just as she was for me... and we will always remember together.