Recently I went to a Celebration of Life for my friend’s 34 year old son who died by accident. It was truly a celebration of his life. His friends, brother, father and mother all spoke of his zest for life and how he lived every moment to the fullest. His mother read
“On Children” by Kahlil Gibran
“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”
She truly demonstrated her belief that life is a continuous flow of energy of your spirit in this plane and into the spiritual realm. At the end they played “Happy” and everyone danced in the aisles. I was so overwhelmed by the love felt for this man and how everyone was honored by knowing him.
Twelve years ago, I lost my husband after spending 17 years with him. My son was eight and had to bear losing his father young. It was a sudden death and totally unexpected. Sonny Perkins was such a vibrant man that everyone loved for his generosity. He would cook on the grill and have me to take food to all the single moms in the neighborhood. He was bigger than life and it seemed unreal that he was no longer with us. He made it clear that he wanted to be cremated and did not like funeral homes. So I made the decision to have a graveside service only. I invited people to the house afterwards and told them to” bring a bottle and a story” to celebrate his life. I knew that he would be proud of this decision. It was a very emotional time, but what a fine way to learn more about this man that I loved for many years, by hearing stories of his college days.
In the weeks that followed, I found solace with Wil Perkins’s ( my son) unwavering belief that his father was still with us. I would be crying and he would ask what was the matter. I would say I miss your Dad. Wil would respond “He is right here with us, Mom , you do not need to be sad.” I felt comfort knowing that his spirit would always be with me and Wil. When you have the privilege of knowing someone intimately and being part of their life, you truly never lose them. You can reach them through dreams, meditation and prayer. You can always talk to them if you are willing to try a new way of communicating. Look for signs and you will see them. Wil and I were standing in the bathroom shortly after his Dad’s death and I was talking about how his Dad would turn off the light to tease me. The next moment the light went out without us touching the switch. We both knew in our heart that his Dad was there. Sometimes you may see a animal,hear a song or smell something that reminds you of your loved one just when you need it. Pay attention, they are trying to let you know that they are OK.
Today, I go to another Celebration of Life for my friend, Wendy Brown, who I met 17 years ago at the YMCA water aerobics class. She was one of a kind. We were friends in Goldsboro, and when I moved to Cary, she asked me to attend NC Theater productions with her. Her generosity allowed me to experience art in many forms, including theater, ballet and symphony. When she found out my college son liked the symphony, she gave him tickets to go and take a friend. She was a generous donor to all the arts, and it was my honor to attend the events with her. Wendy, Annette, Eric and I could be seen at most NC Theater events. Whenever I think of her, I see her impish smile and revel in her sense of wonder of the arts at every production she attended.
As life goes on, we experience more losses of our loved ones. Celebrating their life in your memories, instead of grieving your loss, can give you great comfort. I know you truly never lose anyone, just their physical form. My Dad died when I was 19 and my Mom when I was 29 but I still see them in my dreams and meditations to this day. When people ask , “How do you get over the loss?” , I respond by saying ” I am so thankful that I had them in my life for even a short while”. Knowing that their spirit is with me always is a comfort beyond belief.