October 12 will be the 38th anniversary of my mother in law, Jessie’s death. While I remember her illness, her dying and her death, I choose to remember her life.
I remember her. I remember her sweet smile. I remember how she loved me. I remember her love for family and friends. I remember her charitable works. I remember how well she cooked and baked especially for our annual family Thanksgiving dinner. I remember her talent with various mediums of needlecraft.
And I will remember her by lighting a memorial candle. I will make a donation in her memory. And her name will be read from the pulpit of our synagogues.
As humans we have the gift of memory. With the anticipation of Hurricane Matthew I saw and heard clips both on TV and among friends of memories of past hurricanes especially those that affected Florida, such as Andrew in 1992 and Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne in 2004. In 2005 we had Wilma, the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic. No one will forget the devastation of Katrina, or Super Storm Sandy that left people homeless and helpless. Not only will people remember the pain but they hopefully will remember the miracles of lives saved and homes rebuilt.
So too, memories of loved ones who have died may trigger emotions on a scale from mild to intense grief. However, while we do not have control over our feelings we have control of what we want to remember.
What will you choose to remember?