You would have loved the dress we picked out for you. It was your style and we agreed, you would have loved it. We set out on the errands at hand heavy hearted and exhausted, my sister and I. Sifting through the dresses, wrenching them from the overloaded racks, holding them up to each other all the while trying to keep the tears at bay. We could only guess your size. That disease that took your life took your body with it. It stole your smile, and obliterated your memories. It extinguished your spark. Your iron will was no match for it. It was purple, the dress and had flowers on it. It was your style. We decided on the last size we knew you wore. When you were healthy, when your light shined bright.
You would have loved the voice that sang Ave Maria at your funeral. His deep tenor swirling, floating, filling every inch of the church. You would have whispered in my ear “Isn’t this beautiful!” and then you would have lost yourself in the music.
You would have loved that your children and our children all gathered together in this dark moment to hold each other up and out of the vast emptiness that your departure left. And soon, the light, your light, overshadowed the dark.
You would have loved that our cousins, your nieces and nephews, were all in attendance in honor of you and that the gathering we had after we said our last goodbyes was full of laughter and happy remembrances of you.
When I was given the heavy task of composing your obituary I was both honored and burdened. How do you begin to describe a person in just paragraphs? How they touched your life, how they lived their life. Would I be able to do you justice? As the words began to pour from me and onto the page I wondered, did I ever tell you these things while you were here among us? Did I tell you how much I loved you? Did I tell you how much fun you were? Did I tell you how kind and empathetic you were? I dug back in my memory and tried to recall…did I say these words to you? And if not, why not? Why do we wait until a person is gone to extol their virtues. Why do we wait to celebrate their lives?
If there is one thing I have learned from loss, particularly from the absence of you is that we should not wait to celebrate our loved ones. Celebrate now, even when the trials of life get in the way. Celebrate their existence on this earth. Let their ears hear your praise. Let them hold you when you are sad. Let them make you laugh, let them know.
It’s been over a year since you left and there are hundreds of “you would have loveds” that have popped into my head, and with every one of those a little bit of pain. I hear your voice in my head guiding me as it always did and every now and then I feel your presence. I imagine that there will be so many more “you would have loveds” , they will go on for the rest of my life and I welcome then because that means you will always be in the forefront of my mind and embedded in my heart.