Sometimes my favorite conversations are those when I say nothing at all, but just sit and listen to the interaction between the participants. That’s what happened to me this past week, as I visited my husband’s family in California. It was a typical gathering of his siblings — always plenty to eat and drink, along with lively conversation.
Two things touched me this time round — how they so warmly shared memories of my husband, their brother, and how the words “I remember” were so often used. As years pass, grief takes different forms, and I found myself smiling and even laughing at their stories of the one I love. They laughed too. No tears were shed, for we all knew we’d passed through the hard days, the days when we could not mention his name without taking a deep breath or letting out a sigh.
So here they were, asking me if I’d heard this story or that, being grateful for the life he lived and which they shared. It was medicine for my soul.
The stories, the memories did not stop there, and I continued to listen as they shared more of their family history and tales of childhood. This is where “I remember” came into play along, with an occasional, “no you don’t remember, you weren’t born yet” or “you were too young to know.”
I listened and longed for my boys to hear them, to catch a glimpse of their history being shared. No paper holds such things, just minds, just memories. Though this thought made me sad, I realized that more than the history, we carry with us the look of their faces, the sound of their voices, the tenderness of their love for one another. This is what we remember more than the facts of their history, this is what lives on when I look at my children and at theirs.
This is what I will remember…and cherish.
Grace and Peace