I was glad to be alone when I encountered Christy on my evening walk. Her two boxers don’t get along with my dog and it was a relief to avoid the usual struggle of restraining Prince’s aggressive ninety-five pounds.

Christy, always cheerful and talkative, seemed hesitant to speak when I asked how she was. Then she broke the news: she had buried her father just that day. A hard thing, I know, having buried both my parents.

She spoke of what a wonderful man he was, loved by everyone, and fought back tears as she reminded herself that his was a happy, well-lived life.

My heart ached for Christy and I hugged her on that street corner. We then went our separate ways since she was too emotional to speak further, and as I walked, I thought about this thing called life. It’s full of twists and turns, ever changing, but always headed to the same destination: death.

And because of that ultimate end, life would seem completely futile if we didn’t have hope. Hope for a future with a loving Creator who receives our spirits as they leave their fragile shells.

Another neighbor, Ryan, recently lost his father, as well. Ryan’s mom says she is taking one day at a time, grieving the loss of the person who’d been her best friend for forty or fifty years, but comforted by the knowledge that he has gone to a better place.

When the bodies of those close to us return to dust we miss their physical presence, the twinkle in their eyes, the warmth of their embrace, the music of their laughter. We miss adventuring with them, whether hiking a tall mountain, strolling through the neighborhood, or simply enjoying a meal.

But we can cling to the hope that they are in a better place and actually better off than we are. They’ll never again feel the panic of a heart attack, waste away from cancer, or nurse a pounding headache. Their physical bodies have returned to dust and their spirits are in Glory.

In many ways they are still with us. When we stop to watch a deer, we can imagine our loved ones by our side, holding their breath along with us, lest we frighten the gentle creature away. When we laugh at silly monkeys or stare in awe at majestic tigers at the zoo, we can remember past visits together. Even in quietly reading a book in the evening, we can imagine that special person napping in his recliner across the room. No, the body isn’t there, but we can close our eyes, remember, and feel the love that remains in our hearts.

We have different ways of remembering. Some memories are triggered by locations, some by sights, sounds, or smells. My best memories come when I begin writing, almost as if my fingers can find things in my subconscious mind my tongue can’t quite grasp.

And so I write, capturing the moments, the memories. I smile at what I’ve written, and I feel the presence of those who are not really gone from me at all.


  1. Christy
    Sep 24, 2017

    Thank you for being on that corner that day. I knew you would understand!

    • Karen Curran
      Sep 24, 2017

      I’m glad I was there, Christy! I love you!

  2. Gary
    Sep 24, 2017

    Beautiful…and true!

    • Karen Curran
      Sep 25, 2017

      Thanks, Gary:)

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