Don’t we all wish our loved ones could magically accomplish that feat: living forever?
In the Hebrew faith, when someone dies, a frequent traditional response is “Yehi zichra baruch,” which translates, “May his/her memory be a blessing.”
One of the best ways we can keep our loved ones “alive” is by honoring their legacy—those traits, values, priorities & dreams that best reflected their gifts to our world while they were physically here. I try to uphold my dad’s belief in “understanding” as a way of demonstrating love; by respecting & valuing my elders as repositories of wisdom… When I’m willing to listen to strangers with a generous, open mind, I think gratefully of my mom; when I do my art & appreciate the beauty around me, her talents, hobbies & values are additionally mirrored in my own life… My beloved cat, Sykes, a devoted companion for 21 years, exemplified trust & resilience. When I can summon those qualities, she instantly comes to mind & her energy strengthens & gladdens my heart. As we remember & honor our loved ones’ unique personalities & ways of being, we not only are blessed by their memory; their presence lives on through us.
There’s a website–https://www.legacy.com/–that offers some nice features for acknowledging deceased loved ones: Families can have their obituaries published on the site… There’s also an ongoing YouTube video providing brief bios & photos of prominent people from all walks of life who’ve recently passed away.
Of course, there’s no such thing as any of us living forever. That reality blares strong & true as you watch the video & see life after life, once so vibrant & captivating, now physically gone forever. Even the “stars” weren’t spared—not even inspiring luminaries like Desmond Tutu, Koko or Audrey Hepburn. I find that a sad reality, a comfort & a blessing. I’m sad because I miss all the loved ones & special beings no longer here to be experienced so directly. I’m comforted to know I’m not the only one destined for dying–the “Universe” plays fair in that regard, as “death” is the ultimate transformation experienced by all life on the planet. Finally, I’m grateful for the reminder of impermanence, which invites me to wake up to the preciousness of this present, never-to-be-repeated moment before me, abundant with blessings & lessons.
On that same website video scrolling over the lives no longer with us, the narrator’s closing statement before moving on to the next person is, ” ___________ is being remembered for…” I’m wondering: What are your loved ones being remembered for as you honor their memory in your own life? And then there’s an even more provocative question to ask ourselves: What will we be remembered for?
If I hear back from you, I’ll be happy to share an exercise I created that helps us process that last question. It’s fun, provocative & something worth exploring while we’re still here & able to respond in positive ways.
Yes, here’s to that.