Remember those who have died
When I was a young girl, some of the happiest memories I have were spending the weekends with my grandma. It was during those times that she taught me a lifelong lesson in humanity, but I didn’t realize it then.
When I stayed with her, my “job” was to fetch the daily newspaper and to separate the sections into two piles. One pile was the pile to read and the other was the pile to discard, which always ended up being the sports and classified sections. My grandma always picked up the Metro section first and turned right to the obituary pages. I remember asking her why those pages were so important and her reply was that when you get to her age, you start to see a lot of friends and distant relatives that you know appear on these pages. If it was a good day, she wouldn’t recognize anyone, but she would always read each person’s obituary out loud to me. I guess this was our way of honoring and learning more about the person. It seemed like the right thing to do instead of just moving on to the next page.
I still enjoy reading the newspaper when I have the time. Like a lot of people, I sometimes get consumed with day to day activities, such as family, work, errands and other obligations that I don’t take the time to really look at things outside my inner circle. It seems as if there aren’t enough hours in the day to read everything…or are there?
A few days ago I was going through my piles (sports and classifieds also discarded) to read and as I was reading the Metro section, I’m ashamed to say that I passed over (no pun intended) the Obituary pages. My daughter was sitting next to me at the time and she asked who those people were. Without realizing what I was saying, my response was, “They’re just people who died.” As I finished that sentence, I had the worst feeling in the pit of my stomach as I made eye contact with my daughter and saw her trying in her mind my insensitive response to her question.
Thinking about my grandma, I immediately changed my mind set and turned back to those pages filled with people; both young and old, who lived their lives to the best of their ability. Some had long lives and died after lengthy illnesses and some were young who had a lifetime to live but for whatever reason had died abruptly. Each and every one of these people from my community was special and loved by someone. Each deserved to have their lives celebrated, remembered and not forgotten. They all deserve a few moments of our time. That night, I read about each person’s life to my daughter and we honored these great people and shared a sense of loss for each of them.
To my surprise, there were enough hours in the day. Thank you Grandma, for taking your time with me and sharing those moments. You will always have a wonderful place in my heart and you will never be forgotten. I love and miss you so much!