It seems impossible to conceive that there could be a gift that is left behind when we suffer the loss of a loved one. When more than anything we are overwhelmed and in disbelief that a death has even occurred; when what was still a reality of existence yesterday is no longer the case it is hard to feel that somewhere in this dark cloud there is a gift. Sometimes we need time to see and find the gift but it does in all my experiences exist.
I was recently reminded of this gift with the news of a friend’s passing. He was not someone that I’d known for very long or knew as well as others did but he was someone that I felt I knew better because of our link to an amazing friend we had in common. It was through their friendship that I was blessed to consider him more than just an acquaintance. He was among many things, charming, determined and focused. He lived his life to the fullest up until his last breath and with that alone he left behind a gift if not a lesson for all of us.
Whether in your life you’ve experienced a loss or many, we know that it’s a road we will all travel. It’s just not something that we can avoid. So beyond the immense sadness and emptiness of our heart and our deepest desire and longing for one more hello, one more conversation, one more hug; where and how to do we find the gift. Here, I can only say that if you listen with an open heart the gift will appear in its own time. For me, the gifts unfortunately have been more then less and sooner then later in life but they’ve all changed and molded me into the person I am. My father’s passing was the beginning for me. His gift was powerful in that it opened the door of my wanting to journey down the path of who we are spiritually in this life. My mother’s gifts were many, the gift of knowing joy and laughter even in pain, never ending love and tremendous peace in knowing that there is nothing to fear beyond this life as we know it and my dear brother has left me with my greatest gift yet, to live the best life possible for the both of us.
So as we gathered one evening not long ago to celebrate and reflect on the life of our friend, I not only took away a gift but also some very powerful lessons and reminders. The gift for me was that before this evening I only knew a few of his other friends but by the end of this evening I was gifted with the expansion of new friendships solely facilitated by our common link to our friend. It also became clear that we each knew him differently and in many cases where completely unaware of other parts of his life. A reminder for me, that only that which we are willing to reveal of ourselves will others know us by and surprisingly more often than not it is our family that knows us the least. So the lesson; take the risk and remember to give the best of yourself and all of yourself to everyone in your life you value. Let your friends and family know that they matter to you, don’t hold back and however you choose to express it just make sure to do it and if those three little words “I love you” are a part of your vocabulary, remember they can never be over used, use them as often as you can, use them until your last breath!