“Faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases
Tickets torn in half, memories in bits and pieces.”

I am dating myself by bringing up the lyrics of this song, Traces, which was released in 1968 by The Classics IV. The song reflects upon memories of a love that has been lost, hoping it will return one day. The context is different when the loss has been through death, but the sentiment is similar. Good memories produce feelings of warmth and happiness, but those same memories become painful when grieving the loss of a loved one. We long for the relationship to be restored, but it can never be. Sometimes the pain is paralyzing, making it difficult to move forward.

After Jasmine passed, I was laser-focused on planning her memorial service, including a video to honor her life. I sifted through every photo album (remember those?) and every digital photo stored on my computer. Some pictures brought warm feelings and put a smile on my face. 

With others, tears erupted like a geyser at Halona Blowhole on O’ahu when a large wave crashed against the rocks.

The process was agonizing, but I did not realize that it was also restoring my soul by pushing me forward. Occasionally, I would pause and face reality, “This will never be again.” Some of the pictures were faded and creased, and I found ticket stubs and brochures that she kept from our vacations. They will never be again, but I will always cherish the memories. 

To “move on” would be discounting them by leaving them behind, but to “move forward” is to cherish them and carry them with me. I now realize the extent that sharing life together for 36+ years has shaped who I have become, and I am moving forward.

Jasmine was a total animal lover. She fed strays, even critters that came into our back yard. The last two stray cats were both pregnant. I am not a cat lover, by nature, but I could not deny her the joy she received from caring for animals. She did not know what she would do when they gave birth, but she would cross that bridge whenever it happened. Jasmine is now with Jesus, and I feed six kittens in my garage. Jasmine would never abandon them, and I do not have the heart to either. The memories of Jasmine feeding the strays are not something I leave behind. The trait is now part of me.

Cherish the memories. Embrace them even if it hurts, knowing that they will never be again. That is part of your healing. Carry them with you. They have been part of shaping who you are. Move forward.

“He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:3

Stop and Consider. . .

Next: Top 7 Life Lessons #2: It’s okay to have regrets, but do allow it to define your future. Move Forward.

Click here to subscribe to Blog Posts.