The other day, my four-year-old daughter and I were running errands in the car. There was nothing out of the ordinary about this day. My daughter was sitting in the back of the car, happily talking away to me, sharing anything and everything she could think of. I was listening, of course, but admit that my mind was also wandering through my “To Do” list - mentally checking off one thing after another.
When all of a sudden, I hear my daughter say these words - “Mommy, you are on my love list.” She then proceeded to list off everyone in our family - her daddy and brothers, as well as grandparents, aunts and uncles - adding them in to her “love list.” Wanting further clarification, I asked my daughter what this “love list” meant to her. She simply said - “Mommy, it’s all the people I love.” I was taken aback. Never had I heard someone so simply, innocently, and yet profoundly express their love for others. It was beautiful.
We are coming into a month that is known for its expressions of love. Everywhere you turn there are things being used to express love - hearts, cards, flowers and even candy. Love has become a consumer good - something that we are supposed to just hand out to anyone and everyone.
This can be especially difficult when the person you have shared this day with in the past is no longer around. Instead of it feeling like a time of love, warmth and togetherness, it may feel more like a time of sadness, indifference, and isolation. You may start to dread the day, maybe even the month. You might even start to feel anger or resentment. Know that these are all normal feelings. Give yourself permission to feel your feelings, whatever they may be. Know it’s OK to step back and take a break. Take time to focus on yourself - do something that makes you feel good. And when you feel ready, I invite you to remember your loved one. Think about the memories and love that has been shared between you. Our loved ones are forever a part of us, and that is something that will never change.
We are all on someone’s “love list.” We may not realize it - maybe it will never be verbalized to us. But our names are there. And without ever realizing it, you have made your own “love list.” Just because someone is no longer with us, doesn’t mean their names get taken off the list. That list continues to grow and grow and grow. That’s the beauty of it. That’s the power of love.
“But in all of the sadness, when you’re feeling that your heart is empty, and lacking, you’ve got to remember that grief isn’t the absence of love. Grief is the proof that love is still there.” ~ Tessa Shaffer