Life is Eternal, Love is Immortal

Barb Heagy Maui 174-003

Yesterday my Snack ‘n Chat group that meets weekly had one of our potluck lunches. One of the women has been recently widowed after forty-seven years of marriage and she told us a beautiful story about the loss of her wedding ring in a local store shortly after her husband’s death and its miraculous recovery.

For two weeks after the loss of the ring, she returned to that store over and over again, asking in different departments and areas of the store if it had been found. No one had seen it.

Again this week, she asked a young clerk if the ring happened to be under the cash area on a shelf perhaps. It wasn’t. My friend moved on to do more shopping and the young girl went to talk to one of her friends in the store. The next thing my friend heard was her name being called over the P.A. system. She was to return to the same counter again.

“Now, I don’t want to get your hopes up,” the young girl said. “We have found a wedding ring. It may not be yours. Security is bringing it to us.”

They all watched with anticipation as a uniformed guard approached. He stood before them and pulled out a clear plastic bag from his pocket. Inside was the wedding ring!

My friend was overjoyed and broke out in loud squeals and a mixture of tears and laughter. The clerks and guard all joined her causing a joyful ruckus that could be heard throughout the store.

Where had the ring been all this time? No one was sure but my friend’s persistence and prayers paid off.

We each shared stories that day about miraculous events after the loss of a loved one. One woman felt her deceased husband had visited her in the night leaving a kiss on her lips. Another spoke of a knock at a door, and her deceased father entered the room, fully clothed, in the flesh. She felt he had returned so she could say a final goodbye to him. I shared my story of a medium’s message of eternal love and gratitude from my beloved Tom.

I found it quite amazing that four women had four stories about miraculous events after the loss of a loved one. We tend to not talk of these things in our society. I believe there are more stories out there. It appears that our loved ones do go on and can send us signs and symbols from eternity. Love lives on.

A Perfect Day

I opened my eyes, adjusting to the morning light streaming through the crack in the curtains. Byron, my daughter’s dog, had decided to sleep with me last night and once he realized I was awake, he covered my face with kisses in anticipation of a morning walk. He waited patiently while I dressed and we quietly stepped outside onto the back lawn with its cloak of morning dew. Spring flowers were bursting, birds were singing.

Back inside, I started the morning coffee, turned on the computer, and then stuck my head in to see if my daughter and grandson were awake. There they were, in the middle of a morning feed, throwing smiles and kisses my way. Within a few minutes, my daughter brought my little grandson, just nine weeks old, out for morning cuddles while she slept a little longer.

He watched me as I finished my morning writing and emails, those bright Wedgewood Blue eyes not missing a beat. As our gaze caught, his big smile filled my heart.

Maegan woke up and after another bit of visiting, she left for a good long run with the dog along the river trails. My little guy and I had more cuddle and smile time. Holding a little baby in your arms is a precious thing.

When she and the dog returned, a bountiful breakfast and good conversation made for an easy-paced morning. Before I knew it, they had to go to head off for an appointment later in the day.

As I waved goodbye, I said a quiet prayer of gratitude for the love of my daughter, her little guy, and her beloved pet.

I got some computer work finished, notices, letters of thanks, and future appointments and retreated out to the back patio with my book and a warm cup of tea for the rest of the afternoon. The sky was blissfully blue, the birds were still singing, butterflies were dancing and a gentle breeze kept me cool in the warming sun.

Barb Heagy Spring 2015 013-001

Ah . . . this day couldn’t be better. Simple pleasures of shared family love, good food, good conversation, sunshine, spring flowers, butterflies and birds are all I need in my life. At least for this day. This perfect gem of a day.

Treasure Your Memories

This day, as loved ones around me face loss and grief, I was reminded by Facebook Memories of a video I had posted three years ago, sent to me by my daughter Maegan. It’s about a 96-year old man named Fred Stobaugh, who had lost his wife after 75 years together.

Fred wrote the lyrics for a song about his beloved wife, Lorraine, and Green Shoe Studio helped him bring it to life. The song and video went viral as the world embraced Fred and his love story.

Now there are six videos on You Tube about Fred and his song “Oh Sweet Lorraine.” I am including the first video here. I had time to watch the other five videos and it is a beautiful story about love, and relationships, and the memories we cherish.

In the 4th video, a 7th grade student wrote in a letter to Fred about his song and his life with Lorraine and how it had impacted her. She wrote, “You should treasure what you have as long as you have it, and then treasure the memories you have of it.”

Some things in life we can’t change, we can only accept them, and accept them with deep gratitude and love. The simplest, most basic moments, shared with someone we love become the most valued as precious memories. As I felt with my Tom, it didn’t matter what we did, but that we did it together.

Tragedy and Martyrdom

At the recent wedding of my daughter and her new husband, the room seemed to be immersed in love and positive feelings. It was a room filled with large and close family groupings. One of the extended families consisted of 63 adults, another included five siblings and their parents and partners. All the guests seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely and there was a deep sense of community, family, and love among them. I knew that it was a room filled with people who had experienced pain and deep tragedy in their lives, but they didn’t come across as tragic figures or martyrs.

I watched with pleasure as six adult sisters dressed up in costumes and goofed around at the fun photo booth set up in a corner of the reception hall. I’m sure each one of them had experienced deep tragedy in their lives; they had lost their beloved mother in the past year, one of them I knew had lost a child at a young age, but there they were laughing, embracing and sharing the deep bond they obviously had for each other. At another table, a family member, who is dealing with cancer and is in active chemotherapy treatments, was there laughing uproariously with his large family as they shared stories and love. Most important of all, both families were having fun.

Life should be fun. When bad things happen or things make us unhappy, we can wrap ourselves up in it, cut the tragic figure, “Oh, woe is me!” Sometimes we can even take great pride in our tragedy: “Look at me. Look at how wonderfully I am handling my pain, my loss. Aren’t I wonderful?” We become the great martyr.

The sisters didn’t do that. The father, sick and weak with cancer, didn’t do that. We can’t stop the pain in our lives, but we don’t have to let it become our identity, the suffering martyr, the mourning tragic figure.

To live a life well-lived, let us remember that we are not grief itself. We experience grief. It is not my cancer. It is just the cancer. Don’t make pain your identity. Let it not define who you really are.

Momma’s Wedding Wisdom

My eldest daughter got married this past weekend and, speaking as Mother of the Bride, I gave this following blessing and advice to them at the reception:

Maegan and Andrew, we are so happy to be gathered here to share in your joy and commitment to each other. Not only do the people in this room send you blessings but we know that those who are no longer with us, send them from afar. We all wish for a long and happy marriage for both of you. Life is to be celebrated and shared and how wonderful that so many of our family and friends could be here today to be part of such a special celebration.

My darling daughter. When I think of you I have so many wonderful memories:

I remember on the day you were born, the nurse brought you to me after a cesarean birth and placed you gently upright on my lap where you sat looking at me, eyes wide open, little arms folded in your lap. There you sat looking like a little god, the great I AM, radiating purity and wisdom and a calm energy, fresh from the heavens.

I have always loved your soft pillow cheeks which, by the way, you still haven’t lost.

I picture you giggling as you crawled around the living room chair, being chased by your father as the two of you played peek-a-boo.

I got used to saying goodbye to you as you began to travel the world. It began with your 3 ½ month volunteer work stint in Venezuela, and was followed by trips to Europe, South Korea, and most of east Asia. It continued with Andrew to Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Africa.

I admire your great love and generosity, whether that be buying a homeless person on the street a morning coffee and breakfast sandwich, making a friend feel loved with an unexpected gift and a small celebration, or arriving for a weekend at my home to help Mom clean out the garage.

Andrew, I remember the first time I met you. Maegan had returned home from Korea and you made sure you dropped in at Christmas to see her. It was obvious that you were very interested in my daughter and there was definite chemistry.

I admire your incredible talent, your entrepreneurial spirit, and the way you set goals and work with discipline, sweat and persistence to achieve them.

I love your crazy sense of humour and your smile that fills the room as if the clouds had just parted and the sun came streaming in.

And I see my daughter’s incredible love for you and know that she has found a man worthy of spending the rest of her life with.

Together you are a formidable couple.

Together, you have all the adventure of Tarzan and Jane,

The romance of Romeo and Juliet,

The glamour of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie,

The power of Antony and Cleopatra,

And the devotion of Krishna and Radha.

I want to end with some motherly advice gained from experience. I know that Poppa Tom sends his love to you both. We had a little game that we used to play. He would say “Do you love me?’ and I would answer “Yes.” Then he would say, “Do you love me in spite of my faults?” and I would answer, “Yes.” Then he would say, “Do you love me because of my faults?” and I would always smile and say, “Yes.” We both knew that our strengths are our weaknesses and our weaknesses are our strengths, and the very things that attract you to your beloved can also be the very things that drive you crazy.

I’m sure you both drive each other crazy at times. But I want you to always remember to RESPECT each other at all times. Barbara de Angelise, a well-known authority in the field of relationships and personal growth says, “The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It’s a choice you make – not just on your wedding day – but over and over again – and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.”

Respecting your spouse means watching your mouth. Every thought you have doesn’t have to come out of your lips. There’s a time for silence and a time for loving truth.

Build each other up, and seek ways to support each other in all your doings. Show interest in your loved one’s activities.

Keep love alive, through daily hugs, kisses and regular words of love and romance.

Small gestures can mean so much. A small wild flower picked and placed in a bud vase, one truffle on a pillow, a cool drink brought to you while working on the computer, or a warm blanket placed gently over you when you fall asleep on the couch, all speak the unspoken language of love.

I would like you all to join me now as we raise our glasses to this loving couple. Andrew – Maegan – our love and best wishes to both of you as you begin your life together as a married couple. We celebrate with you today and will always support you in the future. Blessings on your union.