An Inner Memorial

our prayers, originally uploaded by fubuki.

Life…and death…have sent me a reminder.

I sat at my kitchen counter as I waited for my macaroni casserole to finish in the oven, determined to finish The Omnivore’s Dilemma which was due back today. Justin came in, wrapping his arms around me in silence. I finished my paragraph, and asked if something was wrong as I looked up.

Something was wrong. My husband had tears streaming down his face. He told me he just got off the phone. A friend of his had shot and killed himself yesterday, leaving behind a wife he had recently separated from and his two small children.

I held my husband while he tried to wrap his mind around the pain this man must have been so deeply absorbed in. And as I tried to send my love to both my grieving husband and this man’s family, I silently admonished myself: My husband had come to me in quiet tears and I had to finish my paragraph before even looking up.

You think you know a lesson. It’s been impressed upon you countless times. And yet, in the every day minutes of life it is so easily lost.

It takes only a moment for our worlds to change. It takes a mere second for a trigger to be pulled and every wrong-spoken word up to that point to seem inconsequential, meaningless or unnecessary. It takes one fateful phone call to remind us that the true meaning of life lies within the actions of a single breath.

I don’t pretend to know what the experience was imparting on the father and husband in my arms, not to mention the grieve of the closest loved ones left behind. But the only thing Justin could utter was the humor and fun this man had brought to his life. He had made work worth going to on the days when no one wanted to get out of bed. His laughter left a legacy.

Earlier this morning, I had read a comment addressed to me about Zeb’s education or potential lack there of. And the words came swimming back to me as a reminder as I pressed my forehead to my husband’s and wiped away his tears. How can we wrap ourselves up in the things that will not matter in the end? Surely we can find a way to grow and learn and experience in this life without forgetting why it is we want to live in the first place? We chase those dreams for the hope of finding what we already have within our immediate reach – joy and happiness and peace.

We, our family, lives for love. We want to live in a way to never again hear about a person’s death and become overcome with regret over the last words uttered or the memories never made. (Please Gd, let it not be forgotten again.)

Let me repeat myself, if for no one else but myself: At the end of our lives, when the phone calls are being made from one person to the next, nothing else will matter but the memories that come swarming back into the hearts of the people we called friends, were lucky enough to call family.

Life…and death…have sent me a reminder. Gentler this time, but just as powerful. And I’m feeling impressed upon to pass it along to you.

In memory of Justin’s friend, Dave and his wife and most especially his babies: Put away your deadline or your goal. Set aside your pride or your impatience. Put down your book…and walk up to someone in your life right now with nothing more than unconditional love. Hold them. Tell them what they mean to you.

Give them something pure to remember you by.

Nothing else matters.

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28 Comments. Leave new

rachel whetzel
January 27, 2010 9:11 pm

Oh, Tara. I’m so SO sorry for your loss. I’ll keep you and your friend’s family in my prayers. Hugs.

Free Spirit Mama
January 27, 2010 9:47 pm

Thank you for this reminder. Love to you all…

In times of loss or need that sense of what’s important suddenly becomes natural. We can so easily forget what’s important. It’s why I live the *radical* life I do. So we can focus on the *now*. Much love to you and virtual hugs for (((Justin))).

My heart goes out to you and Justin – we lost a friend under similar circumstances a while ago. I have nothing to say, just that my heart is with you.

Thank you for the reminder. I’m sorry it comes at such a terrible cost. Love to all of you.

Tara – your gentle reminder is a blessing for me – to reinforce where my heart calls me and to pull me further from mundane and deeper into Spirit. I’m sorry it came at such a cost and am grateful that you chose to share it.

Beautifully said. Blessings to you all.

Amy @ Six Flower Mom
January 28, 2010 8:38 am

Through tears I am sending this to my husband. This past week a lady from my hometown died in a car accident, a dear lady. I am struggling with where I am and where I want to go and what is the best for my family … your words really help to clear the picture. Hugs to you all!

Much love and light to your family in this time of mourning.

Oh, I am so saddened by this loss. For all of you who knew and loved him. You and your family are so courageous and honorable and I send only light and love your way. I will keep all of you in my thoughts. Blessings.

Well said, sister.

Much love to you all.

Thank you for writing this! So true
Sorry for the loss, blessings to all of you!

I so needed to be reminded of those things today, thanks for sharing.

“Don’t judge me for how I left this world,
Remember the love I gave
A lot of grief will follow me
for the decision that I made
Changes appear in everyone’s life
Some good, some bad
The one I chose for myself
made everyone very sad
But in time memories will heal the hurt of hearts
And my presence will be felt by all with an inner peace
Remember me when the sun is bright and laughter fills the air
And a moonlit night and a whisper wind
Will tell you I am there
Don’t look down on my family
Or fill their hearts with blame
For leaving them without good-byes
They will never be the same
If I could go back in time
I’d say a last good-bye
I’d tell them to look to tomorrow
And for me….do not cry…”

I hope this poem brings Justin (and yourself) some comfort during these moments of anguish and disbelief. Having lost loved ones in my life to suicide, I can honestly say I understand the pain you are experiencing right now. There are no words to fully ease the pain, but perhaps this poem will allow you to better understand Daves decision.

My condolences,

My sincere condolences to you and your husband in the loss of this dear friend. We never truly know the desperation with which some souls live. I believe your friend is honored by the sweetness of your words and compassion you share by simply paying attention.

Thank you for writing this difficult entry. You have touched my heart.

So sorry – but a beautiful reminder, all the same. It makes me think of when my uncle died. I was busily working on something, and when someone came to tell me the news, I said, “What? I’m busy!” And then, beyond feeling the overwhelming grief of losing such a wonderful relative, I could not BELIEVE that I had been so frustrated and annoyed just a moment before.

-YW (aka A Green Spell)

What a powerful message. I work in a long term care facility and many residents are palliative. Today we had the monthly memorial service, this time for 7 residents. Nothing else mattered but the happy memories of their lives. It is a reminder to put aside our day to day frustrations. I spent the afternoon chatting with a resident instead of doing paperwork :)

Sending lots of loving thoughts to your family, what a terrible event – but as your post so eloquently demonstrates the only thing we can do is to take from it a reminder to prioritise what truly matters, and to learn from the experience. My heart goes out to those poor babies left behind, it is just tragic.

Michelle O'Neil
January 29, 2010 7:20 am

What a powerful reminder.

Thank you.


Thank you for your beautiful words today. I hope you and your family feel comfort and support and love in the days ahead. When I lost my brother to suicide I really embraced the message to live in the now and love my family so much. Hugs to you guys.

I am so sorry for Dave’s family and his friends. Thanks for the beautiful reminder that life is precious.

Thank you for this powerful reminder. At every death, I reflect upon this, and then the rote activities of day-to-day life blur it all. This should be something that we wake up to and reflect upon each day we are gifted here. My deepest sympathies to you, your husband, and the family left behind.

I’m so sorry. My heart goes out to you. Both of my hubands brothers killed themselves in this same way and there are always many questions left and of course lots of pain.

Thank you for sharing.

Thank you for sharing this. I know that pain. This is a good reminder for me to stop slacking and send my grandmother and my sister letters and photos of my son. I’m better at showing my love to those who are around me, though, and I always tell my husband I love him before he leaves the house and every time I get off the phone with him. Still, I could do better. Nothing in life is more important than those we love.

I am so sorry for Justin and for you Tara. So sorry for Dave’s family, and especially his babies. Suicide is such a difficult trauma for all involved. I lost my brother almost 4 years ago to suicide, and even though I understood how horrible he felt and why he did what he did, the pain of those left behind is beyond comprehension. Prayers to your family and to Dave’s. Much love to you all.

Nicole - Living Absolute
January 10, 2011 8:54 am

“We chase those dreams for the hope of finding what we already have within our immediate reach – joy and happiness and peace.” <— YES.

So, so sorry for your loss. Love and (((hugs))) to you.

I am sorry for the loss of your friend.

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