North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL


May 27, 2014

Danielle Cater: What memories are you leaving?

NORTH JEFFERSON — Death hurts. It hurts when it hits close to home and it hurts when it hits the people who are closest to you.

Two years ago, a friend of mine passed away and some days the pain is still very real to me. He was young and full of life and it just seemed unfair that he passed so quickly.

He had only been in my life a few weeks, but he had made a huge impact on me.

This past week a dear friend of my sister passed away and left a huge hole in her life and in the life of every church member and family member who knew him. I didn’t really know him, but just to see the effect that this death has had on my sister and nieces and nephew is painful.

I hate death. I realize that part of life is death and from the moment we take our first breath we are starting to die, but even knowing this from the beginning doesn’t make it any easier.

When I think back to the people who have died who touched my life the most, it never fails that my heart wonders what it must be like. They aren’t in pain any longer. They aren’t having to deal with petty issues and the little battles in our lives like deadlines and balancing checkbooks. All of this stuff will fade away and only the important things will last.

Just this weekend we talked about my MawMaw, who would always make an Easter bunny cake on Easter for the grandkids. It never failed that the black jelly beans she would use as eyes on the cake would start to melt and it would look like a demonic bunny before time for dessert, but that was all part of the fun of her bunny cake.

When my mom and I were talking about that, it made us both laugh because MawMaw would have laughed too. But it also made my heart sad. You see, I know that MawMaw is much happier in Heaven and that there is no part of her that would want to come back to this earth. But I’m a selfish person and I wanted more time with my MawMaw. I wanted my daughters to know how funny and exciting she was. I wanted them to laugh at her jokes and the way she always picked on my Granddaddy.

But now her memories only live on in our stories and pictures. I’m not a big fan of sitting in graveyards and looking at tombstones. I know lots of people who do, but it’s never been something I’ve been drawn to. There have been times in my life that I’ve visited graves of those I loved and just prayed, but for the most part, I just want to enjoy the good memories of those who have gone on before. We can learn so much from the lives of our departed family members and friends.

Some people never truly learn how to live until they have had to deal with death. Life never seems so frail as it does when standing in a funeral home.

Our friends who have gone before would surely encourage us to love God and to love our families; to live our lives in a way that would be pleasing to God and to make plenty of memories with our loved ones so that they will have those memories of us when we are gone.

Sometimes nothing can do a heart better than reminiscing about the fun and important moments we’ve shared with loved ones who have gone on home. So live you life in a way that your family and friends will look back and smile when thinking about you. Perhaps they can even laugh at the fun memories you’ve left behind for them to treasure. It would do us a lot of good to reflect on the legacy that we are leaving behind.

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