What comes to mind when you think of the number seven? If I answered this question on most days, one of the following would probably would pop into my head. Lucky number seven. Seventh inning stretch. Seven-year itch. Seven Nation Army. None of these come to mind today, though, because today is not like most days.
It was seven years ago on this day that my dear friend, Michelle, died four and half years after being diagnosed with breast cancer. So much has happened since then, yet this all still seems so very surreal. It simultaneously feels like it just happened and that it happened long ago. Life has gone on, albeit differently.
The grief process is just that, a process. I used to think, naively so, that there would come a point in time when the grief would end. It doesn’t. Grief ebbs and flows as time passes, but it’s still there. Sometimes, it’s nearly undetectable. Other times, grief makes its presence blatantly known. Today, my grief is more front and center, which is to be expected, as I remember Michelle.
Michelle’s death left us grieving, but her life left us all the better for knowing her. She left an indelible imprint on everyone’s hearts and minds. As I write this, I can’t help but smile through tears, picturing her smiling, laughing and saying, I love you, sweet girl. Whenever I think of her, that’s how I remember her, not how she died, but how she lived.
She lived her life with such great love for the people in it, and she was truly the living embodiment of the David Bowie quote that adorned her funeral Mass program. The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is to love and be loved in return. My sweet friend, thank you for loving all of us and for letting us love you in return. Love never dies.
If you are dealing with a loss, join me tomorrow for episode twenty-eight, Going Through Grief, on the Elev8 Your Life With Kristi podcast.