We don't know happiness without sadness, they say. Highs don't mean as much unless you've experienced lows. Success followed by failure is sweet, indeed.
And so it goes with love. The loss of someone doesn't hurt as much if you didn't love them. We have been struck mute by the recent number of losses in our family, and several young, tragic losses in our community. As each one brings a fresh wave of grief and disbelief, there is also the rush of memories associated with the person. Good, bad, tender and humorous, I find myself welcoming them all. Each memory anchors our loved ones to us, and knowing that there will never be another opportunity to make any more memories with them makes me want to hoard them. But, sharing those memories honors the ones we've lost, and makes them live on - for us, for the next generation, and the ones following.
I'd like to raise a glass to the uncle who embodied kindness, love and wisdom unlike anyone else I have ever known.
The aunt whose physical beauty was no match for the light and strength she carried inside.
Another aunt whose crinkly-eyed smile and pure love made me believe that I was a better person than I thought myself to be.
The uncle whose wicked sense of humor was mostly restrained behind his military bearing, but shone through in his eyes.
The young man who truly felt like a son.
Experiencing loss, I've found, makes love all the sweeter. And for that, I'm deeply grateful.