“We never lose our loved ones. They accompany us; they don’t disappear from our lives. We are merely in different rooms.”
Last week was a difficult week for me. I lost someone very close to me to cancer. I had seen it coming for years and had time to prepare myself but obviously not enough. Msgr. Art wasn’t just a priest and anyone who knew him can tell you that. He was a human and made everyone he met feel special, like they we’re the most important person in the room.. When my dad died in 2001, Msgr. stepped right up and became that father figure I needed. Everytime I saw Msgr., he would look at me and say “you look beautiful today Elizabeth”, just the way a father speaks to someone he loves. His death has definitely left a huge hole in my heart and feeling as though one of my strongest anchors in my life has been pulled out from underneath me, leaving me stranded and lost.
After living in the land of the dead all last week and being overwhelmed with sadness, I decided this weekend, it was time to return to the land of living. Something I’ve learned from watching two men I love die, it is that death is a beautiful miracle. Most people may think otherwise, that death is wretched and awful, separating us from those we love which I understand. But being who I am; I choose to see the positive side. Shortly after my dad died, my mom and I were talking about his passing and watching him take his last breaths. Something she said that will always stick with me, is how watching someone take their last breath is like watching a child be born. One minute they’re breathing, the next minute, they’re gone. Maybe this is just my own personal experience and I have been blessed to have positive experiences but I see death as a miracle, especially for those who are suffering.
This past Sunday as I was getting ready for mass, I put on my dress which was one of Msgr’s favorites and I actually wore it the last time we had lunch together. My mind started to drift back to memories of him but before I started to cry, I stopped myself and just said “What great memories, I’m blessed to have them and I’ll wear this today in his honor!” And that was how I approached the rest of the day and every day since. I am smiling today in his honor because it is another “Praise Jesus” day! Someone once said “Moving on doesn’t mean you forget, it means that you have to accept what happened and continue living”. I will never forget Msgr. Art just like I will never forget my dad and although it is easier said than to accept, they are both home now, no longer suffering, and probably having fun being reunited.
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, loves leaves a memory no one can steal”
Death is an awful and painful thing but it is part of our journey in life. We can either choose to live in a world of constant sadness, focusing on what we no longer have or embrace the exciting adventure that lays ahead of us and be thankful for the memories of someone we have. Msgr. would want me to be happy and to be strong so therefore I am. I am choosing happiness and to move forward, being grateful for the time I had with him. What do you choose?