In my book Penguins Can’t Fly, I wrote about the story of a young man I knew who had leukemia, and how his family and friends moved up Christmas a few months so he’d be able to celebrate his favorite holiday one more time.
Well, unbeknownst to me, one of my speaking colleagues was good friends with Kevin’s mom. One day, shortly after the book came out, my colleague read her the passage in my book.
Through the tears, Kevin’s mother expressed her great joy in finally have something new to share about her son. “My friends are always telling me new things about their kids,” she said. “How they graduated with honors, got married, had their first child. I never had anything new to share. Now I do.”
The other thing this mother told my friend was how sad she was that no one ever brought up Kevin in conversation. Oh, she knew it was because they were being sensitive and didn’t want to upset her. “What they don’t realize,” she explained, “Is that I want to talk about my son. I want to remember him. I want his memory to be kept alive through stories.”
I’ll admit that I would tend to err on the side of silence, for fear of kicking up sad emotions. But after hearing her perspective, I knew she was certainly not alone.
This time of year can be hard for many people who are missing loved ones.
I’m hoping that sharing this little insight might be helpful to someone reading this. Maybe, just maybe, the best way to shine a little light into someone’s holiday season is by illuminating the life of a loved one who has passed away, though a simple story, fun anecdote, or something new that happened that made you remember them and smile.
“Sometimes memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks.” –Anonymous