Never Letting Go

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momMy mother passed away six years ago today and she has been on my mind. I just called her friend, Jean Johnson, who met my mother when they were in elementary school together and has been her best friend ever since. Jean is 95 years old now and can still tell me stories about my mother. Today she told me, “I was just thinking about a time when Ruth and I were in high school and we went off with a couple of high school boys. We weren’t serious about them, of course, they were just a diversion,” Jean said, “but things were so much simpler then.” During another phone call, she told me about a time that she and my mom ‘ditched’ school to go chase dragonflies near a train track and I could almost picture the two of them running through tall grass and laughing together.

At 95 years old, Jean can bring wonderful vivid images to my mind of my mother as a child, as a teen, and as an adult. Jean and mom didn’t just share the best years of their lives, they shared all of the years of their lives and Jean can still remember a lot of it. When they both found husbands and moved across the country from each other, they stayed in touch through letters, phone calls and occasional visits. I sometimes thought that my mother’s love for Jean was the strongest love in her life and I was okay with that. I was just thrilled to know that my mother had that kind of love: unconditional and endless.

Jean and I didn’t really know each other while my mother was still alive. We started writing letters and calling each other after mom passed away. But now I try to call Jean every month because listening to her frail and loving voice reminds me so much of my mother.  It’s as if I can feel my mother’s love through Jean and I think she feels the same way about me.

Jean isn’t happy about being 95. She is losing her sight and her hearing and she has a hard time finding the right words sometimes when we are talking. She told me today, “I sure don’t want to live to be 100.” And I had to fight back tears because I’m sure not ready to give up my talks with her.

I told her about a book I am reading called “Never Letting Go” which says that when someone dies, their spirit is always still around us, watching over us and guiding us when we need it. I think that’s true. I think that once we know real love and feel real love, it would be foolish of us to think that we have to let that love go when someone passes on. The love is still there. It’s up to us whether we keep it or let it go. And I can sure feel my mom’s spirit and my mom’s love after talking to Jean today, because Jean has never let my mother’s love go.

People talk about death and they think it is something that you need to “move on” from. If you mention a loved one that you lost two or five or ten years ago, some people think you are stuck and not living in the present.

But my mother’s love will always be with me. And my father’s and my husband’s and all of the other people in my life that I have loved. I’m not stuck in a state of grief or mourning for the losses in my life but I’m certainly not going to forget them, either.

I can perfectly envision my mother’s beautiful smile right now and my father’s and my husband’s and I can feel all of that love that I shared with them. Why in the world would anyone ever want to let those feelings go? I know that I don’t ever want to. It certainly doesn’t mean I’m stuck or that I need to move on. Move on to where? To what? To a world without that love, where I would have to start all over again from a place of NO love and build it up all over again? Doesn’t it make a lot more sense to keep all of the love that you have ever experienced in life and carry it forward with you into your other relationships? I think that it does.

There are so many people in my life that I love and have loved and, I know its true for most of us, but it all started with the love of my mom. She gave me that first little seed of love and she taught me what it meant to feel love and to feel loved and because of that, I have been fortunate to love others and to be loved by others. And what an incredible blessing that has been. Certainly, certainly I am never going to ever let any of that go.

So in memory of my mom, who was the first person who ever taught me about love, I just wanted to remind everyone to hold onto that love around you and never let it go. Whether its your spouse, your kids, your parents, your friends, your siblings or even your pets. And whether they are still here with you or have moved on to another place or time or lifetime or adventure, it’s up to you whether you want to hold onto that love or let it go. As for me, I’ve decided to never let it go.  I’ve decided to just hold onto it and let it grow.

heartThis post is dedicated to the American Heart Association. If you like this post or just want to help support the American Heart Association hit the thumbs up button below this heart. A donation of $100 will be made to the American Heart Association when this post reaches 100 likes.

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