Sometimes it is quite soothing…sometimes you are aghast

when you begin to feel the presence of a loved one who has past?


You may be thinking about them or they may come out of the blue…

And you can’t explain it…but you know…they’re standing next to you.


Have they flown in on a breeze?

Perhaps the wind allowed

them to and float across the heavens 

and drift in on a cloud.


Perhaps they rode on a fallen leaf as it meandered down a stream 

or swung from a star, or rode the waves…or slid down a moonbeam…


For, no longer constrained by time and space, their sprits are free to roam…

To seek you out wherever you are…for wherever they find you…is home..


Have they come to share your joy? Have they come to ease your fears?

Have they come to enjoy you laughter?  Have they come to share you tears?


It matters not for you welcome them…as you welcome in the dawn

and it makes you happy knowing you’ll never think of them as gone.



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His was a long and happy life…and though they knew the reason why

his family could not stop their tears…when it came his time to die.


They talk of the life he lived…sharing memories of all his years…

Each memory bringing a smile to their faces…each smile escorted by tears.


Their days became filled with darkness…as in their lives a sad wind blew…

their sadness clinging to everything…dripping…like morning dew…


But time flows on like water and eventually they learn

though the sadness they feel will never end…

their smiles will return


And they take solace knowing how lucky they were

to have felt sad enough to cry…

lucky to have had someone in their life…


who made it so hard to say goodbye.

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I had a sister I never knew…who Mom and Dad still mourn.

She died, Mom said, when she was two…

and two years later…I was born.


They often talk about her.

They want to keep her memory alive…

Dad says it help him to remember…

Mom says it helps her to survive


Sometimes I’ve seen them wipe away tears when my sister’s name is spoken

and I can feel their pain and fears

and I know how their hearts were broken.


Mom says that it’s okay to cry…to weep to grieve…to feel

because when one can find no reason why…

crying helps to heal…


She says sometimes it’s too hard to talk about her feelings after all these years

And when her worlds will not come out…her eyes speak for her in tears.


The day she died, Mom said, was but one day…

two years after her arrival

but living without her everyday

is a lifelong journey of survival.


But our family is a happy one…in spite of losing one bright star.

We know living without a sister…a child…is just but part of who we are…


So we find our happiness wherever we go

Wherever we walk and in whatever we do…

and we all smile because we all know


my sister’s walking with us too.

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He brought him to their favorite spot…where the water meets the land.

The perfect place to say good bye…to build their castle in the sand.


“Your mom loved this spot.” Dad said. “This was her Disneyland…

Watching people walk along the water as we built our castle in the sand.”


So they began to build…with watchtowers, ramparts and turrets springing up across the land

and when the moat had been completed…standing majestically was their castle in the sand.


They sat where she would sit…together hand in hand

and watched the sun begin to set on their castle in the sand.


As they witnessed the tide rise higher and higher…creeping out upon land

they knew it wouldn’t be long until the water reached their castle in the sand.


The father observed his son in silence…hoping he’d begin to understand

the evanescence of the moment…of their vanishing castle in the sand.


“That is the beauty and the sadness of life.” his father said, 

“for no matter how wonderful…how grand…

eventually we all fade away…like a castle in the sand.”


The young boy now has a family of his own.

He often brings them to where the water meets the land…

and he smiles, remembering his Mom and Dad…


as they build castles in the sand.

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They each had their moment alone with her…

wondering why it was her time to die…

They each took that moment to thank her…

to remember…and say goodbye


“You were a wonderful friend.” she whispered

as a tear fell from her eye,

“and I will visit your memories often

Goodbye, my friend…goodbye.”


“You were a wonderful Grandma.” he whispered

as a tear fell from his eye,

“I will never ever forget you…

Goodbye, Grandma…goodbye.”


“You were a wonderful mother.” she whispered

as a tear fell from her eye,

“You gave me life and taught me how to love…

Goodbye, Mom…goodbye.”


“You were a wonderful wife.” he whispered

as a tear fell from his eye,

“My heart will forever be your heart…

Goodbye, my love…goodbye.”


They sat together holding hands

as her coffin went floating by…

each one realizing they began to miss her…


the moment they said goodbye.

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The little boy was crying…his cheeks were stained…his eyes were blurred

when his grandpa sat down next to him…without uttering a word.


The little boy looked up at his grandpa…he couldn’t tell him of his fears

He wanted his grandpa to think him brave…but he could not hide his tears.


His grandpa reached over taking his hand in his…then he gazed out on the lawn…

“She was a beautiful lady, your grandma.” he said…”It’s hard to believe she’s gone.”


It hurts right here his grandpa said…it’s like my heart is shrinking

The little boy looked at his grandpa…how could know what he was thinking?


I’m just so sad and angry the little boy said…if this is what love does…then….

I will never…never..never…love another person again…


But what about me, your mom and dad and you’re brothers and sisters too?

You can’t stop loving us anymore than we can stop loving you.


“Life will have it’s ups and down” His grandpa said, 

“You’ll find from the moment you are born

if you want to enjoy the beauty of the rose…

you have to experience some thorns.”


The little boy laid his head in his grandpa’s lap…

his grandpa patted him and smiled…

The little boy closed his eyes still crying…

and they sat in silence for a while…


“But there’s too much risk in loving!” the little boy said having given this some thought…

“No!” his grandpa said hugging his grandson close…


“there’s too much risk in not.”


The young man noticed the older couple walking toward him at a slow and labored pace

The older man clinging to the older woman…his arm around her waist.


They stopped along the water’s edge…he gave her an embrace.

Then he stepped back, said “Smile”…as he put the camera to his face.


The young man walked to them instinctively…knowing what he should do

“Would you like me to take your picture?” he asked, “a picture of the two of you?


He took their picture, then another…and suddenly…on a whim

The old man grabbed the camera…said “Smile” then took a picture of him.


They chatted together for a while even filled a few more camera frames… 

by the time they were ready to part they knew each others names.


He hugged them goodbye and wished the couple well

feeling lucky they had brightened his day.

But he felt the old man touch his shoulder as he slowly walked away.


“I just want to thank you”, the old man said, “for taking our picture.”

“For the few moments that you stayed…

For your smile…for your kindness…

for the memories you made.”


He said he and his wife had traveled the world together

He spoke of the memories they’d amassed

But, he said, his wife was dying and this trip would be their last.


He said they have found that some of the greatest moments in life 

are the ones that are unrehearsed

and he thanked him again for making one of their last memories

as beautiful as their first.


The young man walked back and gave the wife a hug

He could feel her fragility as she whispered thank you in his ear…

He left them sitting, looking over the water, 

without looking back…


He didn’t want them to see his tears.

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Because I could not stop for Death – 

He kindly stopped for me –  

The Carriage held but just Ourselves –  

And Immortality.     (Emily Dickinson  1830-1886)


The call came unexpectedly breaking the serenity of the night

A friend I knew while growing up…had given up the fight…


She was loved when she was living.

She was loved the day she died…as witnessed by her entire family

standing by her side.


And though I hadn’t seen nor talked to her in over 50 years

my mind opened the door to her memories…and I was moved to tears.


So many memories…so vivid…so easy to discern…

Memories stored away for all these years…awaiting my return.


I remember how she lived at the bottom of the hill…just a short walk down from me

I remember spending many days and nights…feeling part of her family.


So many memories came rushing now.

So many memories to make me smile.

I was happy to let them wash all over me…and so I lingered there awhile.


I knew her when her fire burned bright…

and though I missed the rest…and I missed her fading embers

I’ll never forget her…because I can’t forget someone

who gave me so much to remember…


Because she could not stop for Death – 

He kindly stopped for her, I see –  

And so she rode off with that smile I’ll cherish forever…  


to Immortality.

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We grew up together, he and I…and recently he appeared within my thoughts

for I kept growing have had a full life…but he…well, he did not.


He died when we were young…to young…certainly too young to die…

He died before he got the chance to live…before I had the chance to say goodbye.


Before he had the chance to experience all the wonders that were due him

Before I had the chance to thank him…in the short time that I knew him.


To thank him for his friendship, before his world went numb

For helping me be the person I was back then…and the person I have become.


Everyone who crosses our paths impacts us is like a shining star

glowing, if even for short while, and influencing who we are.


I remember once we were playing with matches when our plans when a little haywire

and the open field across the street from his house…

well…we set the whole thing of fire.


No one was hurt, nothing damaged…but we both caught a lot of grief…

You see his father wasn’t just his father…he was our city’s fire chief.


Perhaps there are better examples…that if I searched my memories I could find 

but for whatever reason this is the first memory that popped into my mind.


It reminds me of a time we were young and innocent …before the time he died…

When making mistakes was easier…with a friend right by your side.


Perhaps that’s why I remembered this moment 

because, before his life would end,

he taught me a most important lesson…

how to be a friend.


Perhaps that’s what memories do…

they allow us to remember the who, the how…the why

so even when a friends is gone…


we don’t have to say goodbye.

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