I just received a beautiful sympathy card from my friend who sang with me at the funeral. In it was a poem about death, and a note that said she keeps this poem near a photo of her own father who has passed. I thought I'd share it with you all since we've all lost somebody we love, and I hope it especially helps AYWH this week.
"Death is nothing at all. I have only slipped away into the next room. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by my old familiar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always used. Laugh as we always lauged together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without effort. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was; there is absolutely unbroken continuity. Why should I be out of your mind because I am out of your sight? I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near just around the corner. All is well. Nothing is past; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before- only better; infinitely happier and forever- we will all be one together with Christ."
(- Henry Scott Holland, 1847-1918)
Some of you had mentioned how romantic it was that my grandmother was buried next to the love of her life on their 63rd wedding anniversary. It was. Their love was a love for the books. One of my biggest regrets is that I never had a chance to write down their love story, as my grandmother has requested, before she left this world. But I would like to tell you all now how God placed them together for eternity:
My grandfather, Gene, a blonde, blue-eyed man of British descent from Key West, FL, was in the Army during WWII. There, he met a man named Jerry. Jerry couldn't have looked more different than Gene, with his thick, dark hair and olive complexion. They became best friends right off the bat, and were inseparable for as long as they were stationed together. When they'd go out at night, they'd tell the ladies they were twins :) They also bought a cheap ring that they'd share, and get "engaged" to Italian women with it every other night!
Well, eventually the two began to talk about their homes and their families. Jerry had 1 older sister and 3 younger sisters- and with him he carried a picture of the 3 younger sisters. He showed this picture to Gene, and pointing to the girl in the middle, Gene asked Jerry, "Can I write to her?" Jerry said of course, and gave Gene Rose's address.
(Later my grandmother would say that he picked her out because her boobs were the biggest. And having seen the picture of the 3 Italian girls who basically all looked the same, she may be right!!)
Gene began to write to Rose, and she wrote back. Through this correspondence, a love developed and grew. Rose at the time was seeing another man who was overseas. As her love for Gene grew, she was torn about what to do.
In 1945, Jerry wrote home to his family that they had been dismissed, and he would be home within a few weeks. He also wrote that Gene was coming home with him. The family knew what this meant (a proposal was on the way!)
Rose went to church to light some candles and pray for guidance from Mary. What was she to do? She loved Gene, but was he the right choice? Who should she choose? Her heart said Gene from the moment she received his first letter... but she prayed fervently that Mary would send her a sign if Gene was the right choice.
On her way home from church, she saw three separate roses along her path. This was her sign. Gene was the one.
She got home, wrote the other gentleman a letter, to which he responded that he had thrown her engagement ring overboard and would never love another.
Gene came home as promised a few weeks later, and moved from his home in Key West to NY to be closer to Rose. They became engaged shortly thereafter, and married a few months later, January 20th, 1946. My mother, their oldest child, was born that December. They went on to have 3 more children, 10 grandchildren, and 1 great-grandchild. They spent 40 beautiful years together before my grandfather passed away in 1986.
But they are together now once again, in paradise.