“If you know someone who has lost a child, and you’re afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died–you’re not reminding them. They didn’t forget they died. What you’re reminding them of is that you remembered that they lived, and that is a great gift.” ~Elizabeth Edwards
The past two weeks I have received two heart stirring emails from people whose lives were touched by Lydia. Unexpected and completely random, I was caught off guard but in a good way. Today I wanted to share with you one that my aunt had sent a few days ago of her last day with Lydia, just a couple weeks before she died.
As I read her email, her vivid and picturesque descriptions made the pages come to life. I actually felt like I was reliving these last moments with her again. Her quirky sense of humor, boisterous and sassy attitude, yet loving and gentle nature seeped through. Smiles, coupled with a laugh and lots of hot tears appeared simultaneously. Needless to say, this made my year. What a gift.
Have you ever received letters or stories from others about your loved one? Being on the receiving end, I know how valuable these sacred words are to a grieving parent. We crave them. It’s like keeping that connection alive, to hear their name, and seeing how they touched another’s life.
So before you head off shopping, to the gym, or any other place I strongly encourage you to write those notes to hurting hearts, letting them know what their loved one meant to you. Stop hesitating and just do it-myself included. Think of the enormous impact you will make in the life of someone whose heart is full of sorrow.
The best gift we can give a grieving parent or any grieving heart, is to share those soul touching memories about loved ones. This my friends, is the sweeter side of grief.
Here are beautiful words, etched with love from my aunt whom Lydia adored. I hope you get to see her personality shine as much as I did.
~On the journey with you~
LYDIA GREER 2008
Oh to be five again…
When we called ahead on Sunday, July 13th to let Lydia and family know that we were only 15 minutes away from arriving for our visit, Lydia and I agreed we’d start with a manicure. I had learned to keep a bottle of pink nail polish in the car because a few months previous we had a rainy day rendezvous at the gun show. Wishing for some little girly-activities, we strolled table to table asking the vendors if anyone had nail polish, but no one had a display of beauty products.
So on this summery day in Redmond, we arranged ourselves in the shade and brightened our fingertips with pink. Pink was THE color of that day…from her toes to her nose, I admired her pink shoes, pink shorts, pink sun top, and especially the pink roses in her cheeks. …and now we pampered our hands…all the while recalling the fun we had in deer camp with her hourly offer to freshen up my nail color. “Of course it needs that little chip re-painted”. Her funny-bone was delighted by talking her Dad, brother, uncles and Grandpas into having a bit of color on THEIR fingertips too! She loved her people.
In a while, she joined the dinner preparations: setting the table just so, asking for help to turn the doorknob, “cause my arm doesn’t like to turn that way”, then shucking corn, snacking on cheese for the burgers and exclaiming “SIT BY ME! And then filling up on chocolate milk so she couldn’t get in one bite of her dinner…unswayed by predictions of night time hunger…she announced, “I’m full”
The summer evening was toasty-warm for a stroll hand-in-hand around Uncle Danny’s neighborhood. “Let’s see if there is a house for sale and get one of those papers all about it. Let’s stop and visit everyone who gave me candy last Halloween. Let’s knock on the doors and ask each house if they’ve seen the dog on the poster that disappeared on the 4th of July. Let’s blow these dandelion tops and make a wish. Let’s wiggle through this fence and see what they’re building over there. Let’s go home and I’ll sing.”
Returning to the yard and finding the guys sitting in lawn chairs visiting, she had a perfect stage. She plucked leaves from the big willow bush as “Tickets” to enter her theater and launched into her repertoire: Hannah Montana, High school Musical and her standard: “…..I’m cool, I’m cool…Some people say I’m hot, but I’m coooool!” Her encore was a charade of animal actions and sounds as a quiz for the audience.
Must she make time for a bath? Reluctantly departing to wash off the prickly grass of the outdoor stage she soon dashed back to report she had a little more time to visit ’cause “Mom’s just laughing and amazed!! Danny’s gotta learn to clean the tub.”
The next morning, we enjoyed breakfast out and once again I was honored with her wish that we could sit side by side. Ordering confidently, she subbed link sausage for bacon and announced, “yes, I eat the crusts” of the French toast I helped her cut.
Afterwards, sending Daphne on her errand with the request for blue nail polish, Lydia explored our motel across the street and sat right up to the telephone to begin dialing her family. Every number memorized for Grammies, aunties and cousins, she stayed in touch … if a phone was at hand, I learned she was ready to place a call. Since this time was pretend with phone cradled in her shoulder she listened, replying “uh huh…uh huh…uh huh…” all the while taking copious notes.
Back at the dining room table, drawing and visiting and tending to a pedicure, she pointed out her ruffled sun top for the day was a loaner from her friend…how nice to be the same size and share. I learned she had mastered the swimming strokes and “I don’t even need the noodle to hold me up now!”
Packing up to return home, we hugged goodbye, planning for another grand time together. Now, as I imagine God’s heavenly Welcoming Committee enlivened with the enthusiasm of Lydia, I must say it helps to feel good about arriving in heaven for our next Grand Time Together. In her short five years, she learned to embrace us at a full run …her arms outstretched for hugs of joy. I know I wasn’t the only one she loved. It was her practice, and she made us all feel like a million dollars!
Remembering her rosy cheeks which completed that snappy outfit of pinks clothes, today it seemed like pink roses were a good symbol of the delicate color and softness of Lydia’s happy face.
I watch roses grow from bud to full expansive bloom, bursting with beauty and then gone, the petals scattered away on breezes. I am sorry to see the flower go, but I know the petals will nourish the garden and help new beauty come to life. Lydia was a beautiful gift of God. She knew she was God’s child and that Jesus loved her. She delighted in doing the most important job God can give us…loving others. God bless her generous and accepting heart.
Auntie M’ loved Lydia…
Cover image photo credit-Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash