How Do You Remember?


Devotional By Karen Schoeppach

After a family member or close friend has died, people choose many different ways to remember them. You see signs in the rear windows of vehicles with a loved one’s name, date of birth, and date of death. There are posts on Facebook wishing people “Happy Heavenly Birthday!” or a repost of messages about loss, missing loved ones, wishing for one more day, or how hard it is to keep going without them. So, remembering can be a path to renewed grieving. And everyone grieves in their own way and on their own timeline.

I try to remember those who have died in ways that bring out the good memories, the happy times. I don’t always succeed. Sometimes I find tears in my eyes and on my cheeks as I remember. Sometimes there is that little “pinch of pain” in my heart when I hear a song, go somewhere I used to go with them, or come across something that I want to tell them or show them. The memories can flood my mind and heart. Still, I want to remember them and my life when they were in it.

I don’t wish anyone a “heavenly birthday” as I don’t believe we will have a marking of time when God brings us home. I don’t need to put a sign on my car window with names and dates. Those are engraved on my heart. Wishing for one more day with them would not be enough. It would only make me feel the loss more when that day was over. As for the challenge of trying to keep going when they are no longer a presence in my life. Well, I wouldn’t want anyone to stop living if I were to die. I wouldn’t want anyone to allow my death to cause them to forget the others that were in our lives. Anyone who was touched by the person who died deserves to have me care for them. I need to make them feel important and loved, not discarded because someone is no longer here.

My way of showing how much someone meant to me is to keep moving forward and care for and support the others who remain behind. I want to tell the stories and hear the stories known by others. I want to laugh at the funny things that happened or that they did. And if songs, places, or experiences make me cry, well I would rather cry than not have shared those things with that person.

So, that is how I remember. How do you remember?

God, it is hard to keep going after someone dies. When life stops for them, we may feel life has stopped for us. Take us in Your loving arms and touch us with Your strength so we can honor them by living life as they would wish to have us live. Turn our deep grief into warm remembering. Show us the way forward. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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