Thursday, June 16, 2011

Heartfelt Reminders

Frederick James Lewis passed away on the 14th June 1998 in Southport, Queensland. He was laid to rest in Nerang on the 17th June 1998. I was in year 12 studying for my HSC exams when my poppy passed away from a tough battle with cancer. This was my first taste of grief and the overwhelming scars it leaves on your heart. This is from one of the very first journals I ever owned. It is kept safe in a beautiful box with a bright green ribbon wrapped around it. It contains memories and thoughts of people I have lost in my life. It is simply called 'Peace'. It is remarkable to read back on this particular journal entry, as I experienced many of the same feelings after losing Yasminah.

Poppy I miss you everyday and wish you that you could of met my beautiful family. I know you will be taking good care of my angel Yasminah and hopefully letting her play in the mud too x x

Heartfelt Reminders

Grief overwhelmed me. I tried to hide the tears. We were asked to stand up and pray. I heard them close the coffin and saw them place the flower arrangements back onto the coffin.

We had come to say goodbye. Goodbye to a man whom we loved dearly and hold close to our hearts. He was my grandfather. My father's father. His life was short lived but happy. Even in his last days as we call them now, he was happy.

My sadness extends further than my words, it's hidden in my heart. Buried deep in that little corner of my soul. I mourned the passing of a great man and things lost forever. He was English by birth, a Catholic by nature. A true authoritarian, who stood his ground with a tough will, but a kind forgiving heart. He lived a hard life where the milk was straight from the cow and there was no sewerage system, he had seen two wars and fought in one. Transport was hard and he often walked miles to reach his destination. Equality between women and men was unheard of, as were the children.

A tear rolls down my cheek, the moment of realisation of love. You don't know what you've got until it's gone! No more care and share of family stories and those fun new year's eve parties. All that's left now are heartfelt reminders.

The eulogy was read by the eldest son. I was asked to read something as I am the eldest grandchild, but I was too overcome with grief. Then I noticed her, my grandmother standing there all alone among the crowd of familiar faces. Her eyes were fixed on my uncle as he read the eulogy. A smile ear to ear, a tear strolled down her cheek. Her eyes fixed on my uncle. Her love is one I've yet to experience, but know exactly what I'm looking for. Her sorrow is deeper than ours. She had lost not only her husband, provider, father of their children but her best friend, her soul mate.

The psalm was read;

The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads my beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the path of righteousness For his names sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. For thou art with me; Thy rod and staff, they comfort me. Thou dost prepare a table before me. In the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me. All the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever.
Twenty third Psalm

The hymns all carried 'on eagles wings'. The service was smooth and the saddest experience of my life.

I looked at her again. She was seeing more than you and I. Feeling more pain than any of us felt. I wondered if she was all cried out. My heart began to ache. I remembered. Her grief I wondered was it for now, or years ago. Her mother was taken in similar circumstances.

The solitary tear is etched in my mind. His birthday was two weeks after his death, I wonder, how did she cope. Her life will never be the same, as will mine. There is a void, a missing person. A hug that will never be.

After the service we go back to the house. I remember him, after loosing so much weight. Small and frail. Skin hanging bone to bone. My grandfather or my 'poppy' as he was know had a terminal disease. No cure, as yet has been found but it's opened my eye's to life.......and death. I wonder how you're feeling now, I wonder if you see our pain. Forever in our memories you will remain.

My nan opens his closet, with all his clothes in it. She walks out of the room. Tears are shed. I hold her in my arms and tell her it will be alright. But will it? I tell her I'm here for her. Her sorrow comes from deep down inside. All that's left now are heartfelt reminders.

I have never shared these words with anyone or shared this drawing of my poppy, not even with my nan, but today 13 years on, nan I want you to know we remember and love him dearly. This was also read at my poppy's service - to every one missing a loved one today, this is for you

To One In Sorrow

Let me come in where you are weeping friend
And let me take your hand
I, who have known a sorrow such as yours, can understand
Let me come in - I would be very still
Beside you in your grief
I would not bid you cease your weeping friend
Tears bring relief
Let me come in - I would only breathe a prayer
And hold your hand
For I have known a sorrow such as yours
And understand
~Grace Noll Crowell

What are your Heartfelt Reminders?

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