I lost my little girl when she was 2 and a half years old. It devastated me, but it also taught me never to take people for granted. Even now, when my grown children leave, I assure them that I love them. It could be the last time I see them. How precious my parents are to me! How I wish I could spend more time with my brother and my sisters! And now there are my precious grandchildren that I miss so much when I am not with them.
I remember vividly when we dropped my oldest son off at college far away. He walked away from the car after saying good-bye, and I lost it. He didn’t see it or know it, but I cried for the next two hours. I lost him forever that day. Life was never the same, and to this day, I still miss him so much that my heart aches when I think of him. He was and still is my pride and joy.
Dropping off my daughter at college tore me up as well. I always felt like she was my own heart walking around outside of me, and when I had to say good-bye to her in less than ideal and possibly unsafe conditions…well…I learned again to let go and trust in God for her safety. But, a huge hole was left in my life. Everyday, I miss her.
I am forever grateful that the memories they left behind were wonderful ones. Danny and I loved to laugh together. He loved to sing and seek the truth about things. He still does. Amie amazed me so many times with her boldness and bravery when I knew that inside she was just a scared little girl. She let nothing stop her. She was always the leader, the captain of her little army (her brothers and sisters), the risk taker, and the seeker of new adventures.
What precious memories I have to keep me company! They are like gifts I will have forever. Forever I will have the memories my little Susie left me when she died, gifts of hugs and kisses, memories of the way she talked and the things she did.
I hope that when I die I will leave good memories to the people I love. I really hope they don’t remember my bad moments. I would like them to remember that I was kind, loving, and patient. I want them to remember that above all I loved God and lived for Him.
After Susie died, her grandparents out of their love for her, latched onto her sister Amie. We had moved about 3 or 4 hours away at the time, and they would make a point of visiting on Amie’s birthday. They would take us all out to eat at a pizza place and shower her with gifts. I remember though, that Amie did not care about the gifts. She loved being with her grandma and grandpa and ignored the presents. One birthday, when they finally said good-bye and walked out into the night, Amie cupped her face to the window and watched them drive away until way after she could no longer see them. Then she walked to the couch, and picked up her stack of boxed presents and carried them around the house until bedtime.
How that incident spoke to me! Those gifts were all she had left of her grandparents and memories are all I have left of Susie. But what of the memories I leave? What kind of presents will my loved ones open after I am gone? I don’t want to leave gifts that stink of grouchiness, moodiness, anger, selfishness, or neglect. I don’t want to leave dark miserable gifts of dishonesty, hypocrisy or regrets. When my children and loved ones open the gifts I will leave, I hope they find the beauty of a life filled with God’s grace that spreads to others. And I hope that the memories of God’s faithfulness to me will carry them through the rest of their lives. These are the gifts I want to leave with them. These are the memories I want to light their way.