November 2014 Newsletter: Love and Loss
Note to my dear readers: Hope you’re doing well! We moved to Florida in August and are now settled in. Please accept my sincere apology for skipping a few newsletters. I’m back in the saddle and looking forward to re-connecting with you! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
LOVE and LOSS
This week, my parents would have celebrated their 60th anniversary. They got married the weekend before Thanksgiving in 1954 in Newark, NJ at the now-demolished, but grand in its time, Military Park Hotel. Friends and relatives always talked fondly of that wedding. It was a beautiful affair, they all said. They both lived a full life with six children, many friends and family around, and lots of happy memories, especially toward the end of their lives, when they retired to Florida and had a little honeymoon again – just the two of them. Lots of visits from the kids and grandkids, of course, but it gave them a kind of peace that’s good for the soul and rekindled their love for life and for each other. We loved those visits!
My parents have both passed now: my father passed eleven years ago on their 49th anniversary – with a wonderful priest doing a wedding vow renewal and last rites at the same time – and my mother passed five years ago, just a week after my brother died suddenly – the stress was too much for her heart. She said that she didn’t want to go to his wake – and she didn’t!
I mention this because it’s November and it’s still a little sad, and yet we all go through loss in our lives. Not many of us get to be middle-aged or even younger, without experiencing the loss of someone who is close to us – whether it’s a grandparent or parent, a favorite aunt or uncle, or a friend’s “early” death. So as we gather for the Big Feast on Thursday, we can gather with friends and family and remember the ones who have passed on, too. They’re probably all around the table enjoying the celebration!
That’s my belief anyway.
Mike Dooley – the author of many books and creator of “Notes from the Universe” at tut.com — came out with a new book this month called “The Top Ten Things that Dead People want to tell You”. I haven’t read the whole book yet, but the premise is that while we may pass away from this lifetime, our souls live on. And they live on pretty happily, thank you very much! Things are pretty good on the other side, Mike proclaims, and the souls are having quite a celebration for all they accomplished on Earth, a reunion with friends and family, and feelings of relief all around. But mostly it’s all about Love. In the absence of pain, fear, illness, petty fighting, betrayal and angst, all that’s left is Love. They’re kind of bathed in it. For those of us left behind, that can be a happy thought. No matter what the circumstances of the death are, the soul goes on and lives on in a love-filled environment that makes any happy moments down here pale in comparison. That helps me to feel better about any loss. How about you?
What I found most reassuring about the book were these three ideas: they were ready to leave, we’re NOT ready, and there are no mistakes. Whoa! That’s a whole lot of matter-of-fact, in-your-face common sense all at once! Of course, I’ve heard each of these ideas before, but when they’re in one place, it kind of hits you over the head. Kind of a slap-your-forehead moment! What am I worrying about, or more precisely, why am I worrying about them? They’re fine and they want us to move on. Move on with life, move on with those around us who are living, and move on with love. There’s so much to do in the present moment and it’s so easy so ensconce ourselves in memories, sorrow, grief, and even depression over a loved one’s passing. But “in reality”, they want us to go on living and just remember the happy memories and use them as lessons.
And why not?
Usually their life and their death left us with valuable lessons, didn’t they? Even if they left early, that was a lesson to their peers to drive safely or lose weight or get a little more exercise or treat the connections that are most meaningful to us as if they are. If they left after a full life, there were likely lots of lesson, if we look closely. In retrospect, it’s usually easy to see that they got what they gave, and their wisdom shone through all their actions – whether they were big or small. It’s a lesson to live in the present moment, put down our cell phones sometimes, and just breathe the cool, fresh air of the season, or play with the kids, or call a parent. While we still can. No regrets for past mix-ups or missed opportunities, no guilt or blame required — just do it now.
So enjoy, really enjoy this wonderful national holiday of Thanksgiving! Have a good time with the little ones, and the big kids, and the family we haven’t seen for a while! Relish the gratefulness of it all. I’m grateful this year especially for our health, for the wonderful life we’ve created in our new place, for our friends and family and their continued health, for the beautiful views and nature that we enjoy each day, for the wonderful people I’ve met at the fairs and events over the past few years, for all the new people I’ll be meeting and for the wonder of this life, as it continues to unfold in often surprising and exciting ways!