Love and Death

Love And Death

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Everybody loves a good love story.

Right?!

Well, my parent’s love story got its official start (according to the court) on this day 41 years ago. I always had my mom tell me their love story when I was younger. I thought it so romantic. I was the type of girl who dreamed of lifelong love…of some deep soul connection. I did find a connection that spoke at my soul level and have been married to that man for almost 19 years.ย I’m so happy that my parents have loved each other for so long. They’ve taught me about the hard work that goes into a marriage. They’ve shown me about commitment through their own life together.

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I wrote about my parent’s love story last year. You can find that post here.

What I didn’t share in that post is that it also the day that my Grandma Reva died in 2013.

That was because I have this mixed emotion on this day. There is this joy for love…love that created me. There is also sadness for loss…loss that shaped me.

 

Rock Castle Gorge Trail

If you’ve followed my blog for some time then you already know that she was a major source of love and wisdom for me. She was type of person that everyone was drawn to. Her enthusiasm for people and for life was contagious. She taught me life lessons in the way she interacted with what life threw her way. She forgave people freely. I still can recall a specific conversation where I would have harbored resentment and her response was “their choices are between them and God.” I was in my early teens and that conversation still replays in my mind when I want to stay angry when I feel slighted or wronged. She was also one of my biggest cheerleaders.

I’ve shared before that I struggled as she was dying. Death had not been a big part of my experience in life before 2013. My father-in-law had lost his battle with cancer that February. That day is also associated with another memory, which I shared in this post. That, along with some other things, became the catalyst for our move to Virginia. A move that, although I knew in my heart was right, I had a deep struggle with. I would FaceTime with my grandma and did a video tour of the house we were living in at the time. She was so happy for me. She was more concerned for my contentment than the fact that she was dying.

I dreamed of her last night. A strange dream. But most of my dreams are. In the dream, I was going through photos that I had not seen. I don’t know if I had been the photographer or if I was just organizing them. I was putting them in a series and editing words on them to create a story. The photos were a series of attempts in which she was trying to do a handstand. I remembered thinking it so strange because she was in a wheelchair for many years before her death. The hip replacements had long needed replaced again, but her heart was not strong enough for surgery. What I focused on in the dream was her outfit because it was dissimilar to those of her children, who were also in the photos. She had on white pants and a multi-colored shirt. I can remember it had blues in it.

As I tried to process the dream after I awoke, the thought struck me that the outfit was similar to what she wore to my wedding.

In the photo from my wedding, she is pictured with my grandfather (whose ancestry led to our trip to Scotland) and their four children. From left to right: my uncle, my aunt, my grandparents, my mother, and my aunt, the one who traveled to Scotland with my mom and me (she was also my matron of honor).

It felt like an acknowledgement to love.

Remembering my special day, my parent’s special day, and a special person who was present at both.

The Gulf of Mexico in Naples, Florida from the pier

Grief is a strange thing. Sometimes it comes upon you, unexpected. Other times, like today, you know it’s going to be there. There are still moments when I want to call her up and tell her what’s going on or get her advice on a struggle that I’m having. Moments where I want to show her the photographs I’ve taken or the words that I’ve written. Moments where I just want to hear her voice or kiss her cheek.

Even though the sadness creeps into the edges of my day, I feel infinitely blessed to have had her for as long as I did.

Amy Lyon Smith with her grandma and mother

36 years of her pouring out her grace, her strength, and her peace over my life.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. -Soren Kierkegaard

 

 

Let your light shine!

Amy

22 thoughts on “Love And Death

  1. A really beautiful story, I was also close to one of my grandmothers and she died, very suddenly when I was a 16. I am 50 now and recently found a ring she used to wear and it brought the memories right back ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you. I do think sudden deaths add an extra sting. I have not yet experienced that, but have those who I am close to that have.
      It sounds like a wonderful moment to have found her ring. I cherish the items that I own of my grandmother’s. Often I wear some of the earrings and necklaces that were hers when I feel the need to feel close to her.
      My daughter inherited her wedding ring since, at the time, of the 8 (now 9) great-grandchildren, she is the only girl (the 9th was a boy as well).
      Memories are a wonderful thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I love that you had that dream. This morning a friend of mine wrote of a dream of his brother and friend who’ve passed over. Everyone was so sad in reply, but I had to say, I love dreams like that. It feels like I’m spending time with them, even if it’s on another plane of existence or all in my head. I enjoy those dreams. I wake with sadness, of course, but I’ll take what I can get. My friend said he felt the same.
    I had my grandmothers only into my early 20’s. We are right to cherish every memory. My mother’s mother visits me, and in dreams, she brings me pink roses. Those dreams are my very favorite ones.
    Grief is so complex — no matter we all feel differently, we all feel grief.

    You look a lot like your aunt — the woman on the right?

    • Thanks Joey. I love the dream as well. I love them even more in ones in which she is there interacting with me. It helps keep the details of her face, her voice, her personality so fresh in my mind.

      I love that your mother’s mother visits you and brings you pink roses. What a beautiful moment to cherish!

      Grief is definitely complex.

      My aunt on the far right was my second mom when I was little. ๐Ÿ™‚ She was 16 when I was born, so I was her little doll baby. Even though she eventually married and had a son, she still took me under her wing often. She took me to “take our daughter to work day” (which has since changed its name to include boys) in 1995 which began my love of the medical field. She is also the person who introduced me, albeit not with intentions for romance, to my husband. ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. What a heartfelt beautiful story Amy, I read it through a mixture of years and I could feel the love in your words. Yes, grief is a strange thing and I feel similar emotions when I think of my mum. Hold tight to those special memories that will always sustain you. Hugs xo ๐Ÿ’–

  4. So lovely. The older I become the more I miss those women Iโ€™ve lost in my life. My dreams are a sweet blessing of remembrance to me. Thank you for a beautiful piece of writing ๐Ÿ˜Œ

  5. What a great story of remembrance and love. I recently lost my grandmother who was just a great person and full of life even though she lived a tough life. I held her hand as she took her last breath and will never forget it or her. Memories are trophies of a life well lived – at least the good mementoes anyway. Thanks for sharing your story.

    • Thank you for your kind words. I’m sorry for your loss. Those who hold on to being full of life in the midst of hardship teach us a lot about resilience and strength. Memories of those we’ve loved are precious indeed!

  6. Grandmothers are special…both of mine died when I was quite young and I often wonder what it would have been like to have had them around when I was in my 20s and 30s, the questions I’d have asked them about our family history, how I would have experienced them as an adult rather than a child…

    • Grandmothers certainly are special. I’m sorry that you have lost both of yours. My paternal grandmother is still alive, but after leaving Florida, I don’t see her near as much as I should.
      I was very lucky in that my mother interviewed both of her parents prior to their passing and recorded many of the stories that they had to share.

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