How the death of a loved one is inspiring me to LIVE

Gripping the yellow rose tightly in my fingers, I  fixed my eyes forward, looking beyond my mother as she led us into the church.  Behind me bravely walked my four children and my husband. Following them were my sisters and their families, my three aunts and all my cousins with their families.  The melody of one of my Grandma’s favorite hymns floated from the organ and ushered us to the front of the church where each of us 12 grandchildren placed a yellow rose in the vase next to Grandma’s casket.  We all silently filled the pews, tears filling our eyes, our hearts tight with grief.

Outside the sun was shining, this fall day was beautiful and extra warm for mid-November.  It was the kind of day that normally beckoned me outside for one last adventure before the blanket of winter settled around my shoulders.  The kind of day when the sunshine and gentle warm breeze rustling the golden leaves stirred up life in my heart and inspired living.  What a gift the sunshine and warmth gave us to celebrate the life of our grandmother.  She lived in a way that brought sunshine and warmth wherever she went.

It is never easy to face the passing of a loved one, even when they have lived a full and long life.  The empty space their leaving creates in our lives is felt deeply.  As a Christ follower, we always try to focus on the joy of our loved one being with Jesus in our true home, but the earthly reality is that our hearts are filled with grief.  For our loved one in heaven it is joy, but for those of us left behind it is sorrow.

The tears spilled from my eyes and my heart squeezed tightly as the notes from the organ faded into silence and the reverend, also my uncle, stepped up to begin the service.  Yes, this celebrating life day, this gathering of family to say good-bye, would be a day that stirred up deep thoughts and contemplations.  Back and forth my heart would go, one moment full of joy for Grandma now living in our forever home, the following full of heartache knowing my days will no longer be brightened with her smile.

Over the years, I have bid farewell to several loved ones, each one leaving their legacy in my life.  I carry their fingerprint etched on my soul.  That is the way of life, each of us leaving our fingerprints on the hearts of those we touch.  Grandma’s fingerprint has stirred deep contemplations in my heart.

The days have come and gone, one by one, passing two months’ time since that warm November day.  I have thought a lot about life and death in these passing days.  Death is not something I fear, my heart is sealed in the grace of my savior, Jesus.  But the reality of death is real.  We each will live our days and we will each be ushered from this life into eternity.  None of us know the time or year, but we are each given a breadth of days to live on earth between the two chasms of eternity.

Saying good-bye to a loved one can be something that forces us to examine our own life more deeply.  This can be extremely good and valuable.  What kind of fingerprint am I leaving with my life, what legacy will fill the hearts of those I love?  When my time on earth comes to an end, what treasures of lasting value will my life have?

Big questions, intimidating ones!  Questions and thoughts that we often don’t take the time to contemplate.  Life is so busy, we rush from one day to the next just trying to keep our heads above water.  We live in survival mode more days than not.  We wake up tired and crash exhausted at the end of the day knowing that our to do list did not get done.  Is this living?  Is this creating the fingerprint and legacy I want my life to leave?

I am currently reading two books that are helping me process life and focus on living a life that creates the fingerprint and legacy I really want to leave.  I am reading Driven by Eternity (by John Bevere) and Living Forward (by Michael Hyatt. Intentionally living, not just surviving, is what I want.  Intentionally living with eternity as my perspective.  I am DOING the activities recommended in Living Forward and they are helping me create a clear picture of the life I want to live.  It has been a powerful experience that has been spurred on as I contemplate the lives of my loved ones that have passed on.

Saying good-bye to loved ones fills our hearts with loss, but can also be the push we need to evaluate our own lives more deeply.  The emotions of grief that we feel can facilitate growth and purpose in our own living.  Our own living of life can become more purposeful when we take the time to treasure the life of a loved one.  Grief is powerful, grief is hard, grief is long, but walking the journey of grief can become an opportunity to embrace our own intentional living!

Please share with me…. has the fingerprint from a loved one left on your heart challenged you to look at your own living in a different light?  Has the journey though grief ever nudged you to evaluate your own living?  Is intentional living a desire or focus for you right now?  Are you tired of just surviving and you want your legacy to be valuable??

I know… a lot of questions!!  But this life, this living, our time on earth is just so short!!  From the bottom of my heart I want to live well!  I want to leave fingerprints that are a blessing and a legacy that draws others to Christ.  I want to live intentionally and I want to do this with others desiring the same thing!  Would you like to join me diving deeper into intentional living??  Please leave a comment….  I want to create a community here that encourages living fully!

Also, join me on Facebook at Simple Faith and Family.  Let’s encourage each other to live intentionally, to process our life and to leave a lasting legacy!  TOGETHER!!!

These books are powerful tools helping me to evaluate my life!!  Have you read either of them??  If so, how have they helped you?


**Disclaimer: The book links in this post are Amazon are affiliate links.  If you purchase through my link it will not cost you any more, but will provide me with a small amount of commission.  I thank you in advance, as a stay at home mom any income I earn from my Amazon links is helpful financially to our family.**

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