We named our daughter Vanessa Joy. Vanessa has a root meaning of butterfly. She loved butterflies. She drew them, she wrote about them and when she would give me gifts they mostly consisted of butterflies – a pair of butterfly earrings, for example. As a matter of fact, the last gift she gave me was a throw pillow of an asian influence with a butterfly on it. And when she gave it to me she said, “So you will remember me”.
My thoughts at the time she said that were, how could I ever forget you, and I told her those sentiments in similar words. Well, when we lost her I began wanting to grasp everything that reminded me of her. I felt I owed that to her and to myself.
Our son, on the plane from Hong Kong, designed tattoos in remembrance of his sister. He had in mind for the brother’s to go together and get tattooed, but when I saw them I knew I was to get one. So did at least 3 other women.
This is the tattoo I have on my left forearm. Our son implemented her initials in the butterfly. A V and a J and a B for our last name.
I bought place mats with butterflies, earrings were given to me and other beautiful jewelry. I have a valance with butterflies. I could go on and on. I just needed something tangible to look at from time to time and feel her near me.
Here, on the left, is a picture of Vanessa, the end of December in NYC. The picture speaks volumes of her personality – she did not want me taking that pic of her – thus the “talk to the hand” pose.
On the right – I found this on my camera just after she left our home to go back to CA. She took it of herself – I’m sure so I would remember her.
Funny thing about losing someone. You begin to see pieces of the puzzle of life come clearer. Those few things about “not forgetting” her – she didn’t know that was our last visit together. Nor did we. Right across the street from Macy’s in Manhattan, where the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink is, they display two angels blowing on trumpets. My husband and I went to see the ice skating, and as we returned to meet up with her I gasped and stopped in my tracts. Vanessa was standing between those angels – looking for us – and I remember clearly my thoughts were, “look at Vanessa among the angels!”
Aren’t these memories both beautiful and painful? I friend of mine who lost their teenage son shortly before our loss recently said, “Grief changes over time, I would never call it “getting better”.” www.CallMeOvercomer.wordpress.com
It’s so true, the grieving changes. And that’s OK. My hope lies deep in Jesus, my very best friend. We walk through this pain together. I couldn’t do it alone. None of us can.
We see Vanessa all around us. She’s in my husband and I and her three brothers. You can see her in her nephews and her namesake niece, Lucy Vanessa Joy. The friends that were close to her carry parts of her around. It’s wonderful. Those who leave this earth early are still with us. Just look and remember the wonderful things about them.
“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl
“Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean,
Tears from the depths of some devine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather to the eyes,
In looking on the happy autumn fields,
And thinking of the days that are no more.”
― Alfred Tennyson
“Memories, even your most precious ones, fade surprisingly quickly. But I don’t go along with that. The memories I value most, I don’t ever see them fading.”
― Kazuo Ishiguro, Never Let Me Go
to be continued …….