They Live On …

“People you love never die. … They live in your mind, the way they always lived inside you. You keep their light alive. If you remember them well enough, they can still guide you, like the shine of long-extinguished stars could guide ships in unfamiliar waters.” ~Matt Haig, H

As Valentine’s Day approaches, I am present to the love I feel for friends and family – those who are alive and those who have passed. And I am grateful for the love they extend to me. Quite honestly, I don’t know how I could manage without it.

The love I feel towards those dear ones who have passed has never lessened. I still feel connected to them – not in this physical life, but through memories, thoughts, dreams, and signs.

When I read posts on our forum, I know I am not alone in this feeling, for beneath all the shock and pain, there is an undying love and connectedness expressed for those who have died.

I see this love reflected on the Alliance of Hope Memorial Wall, where dedications reflect the love and bonds that continue between survivors and those who have passed. Our loved ones had talents, made contributions, and touched many lives. The shock and pain surrounding their manner of death does not negate who they were, nor the love we felt for them.

I am grateful that much has changed – and continues to change, in the landscape that surrounds grief. In decades past, the bereaved were often encouraged to cut bonds and “move forward.” Grief theorists saw holding onto a relationship with the deceased as pathological. Yet, theory had little to do with how people really processed their grief. 

We now recognize that deep bonds are not severed by death. Our loved ones are still beloved members of our families and communities, though they exist in a different form. While their physical bodies are no longer present, their essence continues to inform and enrich our daily lives.

This Valentine’s Day, as always, I send my love to the Alliance of Hope community. I am so grateful for the love and kindness expressed here. I invite you to visit the Alliance of Hope Memorial Wall, and add a memorial for your loved one, if so inclined.