In Our Hearts

Loss is an unfortunate part of our lives. We deal with it in our own ways to our own extremes. Outwardly, some people show the effects of loss more keenly than others, but it doesn’t not mean there isn’t grief.

One year ago today, we lost my second mom. She adopted me right into the family when Kevin introduced me to his folks. She made me laugh. She made me feel comfortable. And she truly made me feel like one of the family.

Liz was a woman who always lit up the room. She was as truly effervescent as a person can be; bubbly, light, and fun. She made friends wherever she went and she remembered those connections and the people she spoke with. She quickly learned my likes and dislikes, especially with food, and whenever we were together for a meal, she was certain to include options just for me.

That was her magic, her gift to the world. She touched it in such a meaningful way and everyone benefited from her glow.

When Kevin speaks of her, she appears in the room, as vivid as the stories he shares with me. I can see her actions, hear her voice, and see that knowing glint in her eye. She could be mischievous and plan a fun prank. She was witty and could banter with the best of them. She was wise and could pull from her experiences to guide the people around her. She was compassionate and offered a friendly ear.

Because she is gone, there is an odd sense of watching an old TV show. The story is already told, yet it can be retold endlessly. The mood is there with ups and downs. And no matter how many times you wish it, you simply can’t change the ending. It was already filmed and processed and produced. You can only relive the episodes despite the yearning for more.

I missed her departure by less than an hour. I had intended to be there with everyone. My heart and thoughts were with her and I had put on this one musical track I have, The Journey Home, as I was getting ready to head over. I wanted to be there, but I missed it. She would have told me I had tried my best, that she understood, and that I shouldn’t give it another thought. And she would have meant it.

Liz will always be in our hearts and she will accompany us in all of our days ahead. Our memories always keep her near. And there are times when something happens and I can just picture her sitting on her sofa grinning at me, rolling her eyes at something someone else said, trying to just make me laugh and relax. Even now she’s raising her eyebrow that I’d paint her in such a magnificent light. She’s only human, I could hear her say, she could make mistakes like anyone else. And I’d wink back at her and remind her that the best part of watching an old TV show was the ability to skip through those silly commercials.

We all miss Liz in a deep, profound way. Nothing can replace her laughter, her support, her hugs, or even her tears. She inspires me still to be more positive in my daily life, to find the moment that will make me and others smile, to reach out to the people I see in the everyday world around me, and to enrich myself in those people and in new experiences.

Dynamic, engaging, compassionate, steel-willed when needed, flexible, loving, protective of her flock, beautiful, genuine, generous. And these words do not even begin to describe her wonder.

Thank you, Liz, for all you gave this world.

May your light shine on us, always.

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