Losing someone you love is never easy. When my beloved mother passed away last fall I wasn’t sure how I would find the strength to go on. So many of my greatest memories were filled with the beauty and grace of my mom. It was wonderful to be supported by so many friends and family at the funeral, but ended up being the sympathy cards that I received in the mail everyday for weeks afterward that gave me the strength to keep living.
At first I felt strange as sympathy cards began arriving in the mail. It felt awkward to receive messages of condolence and care from people I barely knew. It quickly moved from feeling awkard to being one of the greatest blessings that came from the death of my mother. I grew to anticipate the coming of the mail each day because I couldn’t wait to see if any more sympathy cards had arrived.
I grew to love the sympathy cards I received because they they were filled not only with words of grief over the death of my mom, but also with rich memories of her life and appreciation for all she had given of herself. I received sympathy cards from people I had never met with story after story about ways that my mother’s life had touched theirs.
My mom’s best friend from high school contributed to the growing pile of sympathy cards on my table by sending me a letter everyday for a month. Each day these letters taught me new stories my mom had never told and helped me to see past the sting of her death by enjoying the fullness of her life. In some ways I think the love I had for my mom grew deeper after her death because of sympathy cards like these.
In the strangest way the sympathy cards I received after her death have given me a whole new perspective on living. After reading about all of the ways that my mother’s life brought life and joy to people around her, I have begun trying to make my life count for similiar things. I was inspired by the sympathy cards to make my own life a life that could be celebrated and remembered positively by all of the people I know. I only wish I would have learned more about living well from watching my mother’s life rather than by waiting to read about her life in sympathy cards written after her death.