How do we keep the departed with us, years after they've gone?
As March 4th approaches I start to write mental reminders - Don't forget to call Beverly. Beverly is an 85 year old woman living in Tallahassee. She's the mother of one of my best friends. Lisa died more than fifteen years ago. Her birthday was March 4th, and for the last fifteen years I've made it a point to call Beverly each year on her daughter's birthday.
"My phone says Oregon, so it must be Rand" usually opens the call. The first few years the calls were mostly about Lisa, but now they focus more on families. Mine and hers. Since we've started this tradition her granddaughter (Lisa's sister's girl) has grown up, married, given Beverly two great-grandkids, and become a teacher. I've married, my parents have passed away, and my dear stepdaughter is about to go to college. Life keeps happening.
I always say that this year I'll get in touch before next March 4th. I haven't made good on that promise yet, But who knows, maybe this is they year. I may never see Beverly again, but we're a part of each other's lives now, and we've managed to keep Lisa with us.