When I first found out that Luna was sick and probably would not make it, I read everything I could find about losing a loved one. I read one blog written by a mother who had lost a baby and she commented more than a year later that she was reminded of her loss because the number on her ticket at the bakery was her baby’s due date. I remember thinking that it was a little ridiculous and excessive and I would totally not be guilty of remembering Luna because of something so silly as a series of numbers.
But the truth is, when you have lost someone, you don’t need help remembering them. Yes, even something as mundane as a series of numbers – or even something like the way the wind blows or the feeling you get when you wake up can make you think of them.
It has been hard for me to really accept that Jen is really dead. My sister’s personality was so much bigger than anyone I have ever known and the idea that she wasn’t physically around anymore was (and sometimes still is) so hard to believe. I was feeling guilty because I haven’t done the same sorts of things to remember her that I did with Jake. For Jake, there were T-shirts, necklaces, photos and symbols like bonsai trees and samurai swords, brown flip flops and Batman. For Luna, there were moons. For Jen, there’s Wonder Woman, but the memories I have of her are not linked to an object or symbol like they were with Jake or even with Luna – not even Wonder Woman.
I had a dream recently where I was sitting with her on a dock, our feet in the water. I leaned over and said to her, “This last time was really close, wasn’t it?” She leaned over and said, “It wasn’t close, Kate. I didn’t make it.” The conversation continued, and I ignored her statement. We talked about all the normal stuff – made fun of our brothers, bragged about our kids and all that and then I said again, “I really did think I almost lost you that last time.” And she smiled at me and said, “Katie, you will never lose me, but I am not alive anymore.”
When you have lost someone you love, it’s not like you need help remembering them. They are present in a million ways in your mind and heart already. I think of Jen when I eat a good cannoli or when I see the color purple. I think of Jen when I read a good book because she would have asked to borrow it. Or when I take a nap because she would always visit me when the kids were napping and I would be annoyed I couldn’t get a nap in too. Or when I clean under the bed because when we shared a room, I “cleaned” up her stuff by sticking it under her bed. When I smell tea or hear 80’s music. Little Orphan Annie or all you can eat crabs.
There is not a single hour or even minute that goes by when I am not reminded of someone I have lost. This is true for everyone who has lost someone. Yes, even mundane things like a series of numbers or the color purple can remind someone of a person they love and miss. Yes, even nothing in particular can bring that person to mind. Mothers who have miscarried can tell you this – they lost someone they never met and someone they had no chance to make memories with. And yet, they still remember.
In this way, we don’t lose them completely. They are not here with us anymore and we can’t physically touch them, but the things they taught us and the way they made us feel will never be gone. Praise God for blessings like that.