Saturday, June 8, 2013
Graduations and Other Milestones
Taryn is in India on the trip of a lifetime...she will be back in two weeks! So, I am making this Throw Back Saturday, let's all just pretend it is Throwback Thursday!
When someone you love dies the on-going milestones of life often develop a bittersweet quality. What should be a joyous celebration may be overshadowed by the fact that someone is missing from the celebratory party. Family dinners, trips to Grandma’s, beach camping, awards for perfect attendance, and opening day on the Little League field all have the potential to morph from a Kodak moment into a teary reminder of what has been lost.
Last week, my beautiful daughter graduated from High School. This moment held some extra emotion for us because my late husband was killed in an accident on the first day of her high school career. As I proudly watched her mount the stage and accept her diploma, I thought about how far she’s come since tragedy walked into her life four years ago.
Listening to the advice being given to the fresh young faces perched carefully on folding chairs, my mind drifted to the lessons that grief has taught my child.
My graduate knows that life is short, and that now is the best time to live your dreams. She has discovered that the things you will remember about a person you love have nothing to do with how much money they made over their lifetime. The word priceless doesn't really apply to material things for my girl, but it does apply to memories of bike rides, rock climbing, watching a TV show as a family, and running after the ice cream man with a dollar in hand. Death has taught my graduate that grief is a part of the cycle of life, and that like it or not we have to find a way to keep going on the path laid out before us. I would bet that she won’t sit idle while the landscape of life passes by her by; and that she knows real value isn't measured in dollars and cents, but in compassion and integrity. She has no expectation that life will be easy, but is determined to make the ride worthwhile. She has faith in her family, counts many people as friends, and knows that her life was changed for the better by just one person.
Our families’ milestone moments will always hold a mix of bitter and sweet. But the bitter times have reminded us to savor the sweet ones. We can’t avoid the pain that death will eventually bring into our lives, but we can choose to allow both the bitter and the sweet to teach us their lessons.