By Rebecca Lloyd
I have spent a lot of the day reading people’s messages of love for their beloved who have died. What kept coming into my head was that love never dies. How can it when we keep it alive through our thoughts and our memories? The messages are so beautiful and as I read them I was struck with the privilege of my role.
Today, just for a moment I stood with them. Through their words, I could feel some of their loss. They mostly spoke of the ordinary, where they met, the time they spent together, walks and talks, laughter and love. And what is interesting is that I took my own moment to feel my own losses. And do you know what? I recommend it.
I have had two profound losses in my life – my mother 15 years ago and a few months ago my beautiful friend. Today I thought of them both and the joys they brought into my life. And I thought, what would I write in their names? And as I look at their photos, which sit side by side on my desk, I am reminded of Shakespeare’s quote in Macbeth:
“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break.”
We must and we should give our sorrow words, and remember those we love who have died, because ultimately it makes us feel a bit better to share their beauty with others.
And as I reflect on loss – and losses are many during this pandemic – I think of the words of another well known writer, Anotine de Saint-Exupery, author of The Little Prince. If you haven’t read it I urge you to. Saint Exupery as the narrator of the book exclaims:
“For I do not want any one to read my book carelessly. I have suffered too much grief in setting down these memories. Six years have already passed since my friend went away from me, with his sheep. If I try to describe him here, it is to make sure that I shall not forget him. To forget a friend is sad. Not every one has had a friend. And if I forget him, I may become like the grown-ups who are no longer interested in anything but figures.”
He speaks about his lost friend and how he misses him and is afraid that he’ll forget him. Remembering and writing down memories is something we can all do. Tell the stories, the good and the bad. Paint the picture of someone’s life and whatever you do, don’t grow up …hold onto the love you have. It will be a balm for your soul.
Each year Irish Hospice Foundation hosts Never Forgotten where we ask people to remember those they love who have died by sending in a message about them that will be beautifully transcribed into our Never Forgotten book. This helps us raise much-needed funds to continue our work. If you want to share the memory of someone you love with us we would love to hear it. Visit neverforgotten.ie
And if you want to talk to someone about how you are feeling Irish Hospice Foundation has a free bereavement helpline with the nicest people who are waiting to talk with you. The line is open 10-1 Monday to Friday and is free. It doesn’t matter when your loved one died, we are hear to listen.
By Rebecca Lloyd
Public Engagament Officer, IHF
Share a memory and support the Never Forgotten appeal