Sunday, May 5, 2013

Glorious Goodbyes

This past week, one of my cousins was involved in a tragic car accident that took her life.  She had just turned twenty-one in January and left behind a gorgeous and giggly baby girl.  As news of the accident spread through my family, I was struck again by just how fragile our lives are.

We hear of so many terrible events like this.  Always accompanying these headlines are phrases that echo the idea that life is too short.  Our end often come after what seems was just our beginning.  In the most rapid of blinks, we have lived and died.  We are here and gone.

When my cousin was born, she had a hole in her heart.  At just 6-weeks old, doctors at Riley Children's Hospital performed open heart surgery.  Her whole life had been a struggle, ups and downs, smiles and frowns.  Somehow, she always seem bent on optimism.  She loved anything tie-dye.  She lived the words to her favorite Lion King song, Hakuna Matata - which in case you don't know, means "no worries"!

When I woke up this morning, my heart was heavy.  I, indeed, had worries.  I logged onto Facebook and wrote this status:

"... Today, my family will gather to say "Until next time..." to my cousin. For Christians like us, it is bittersweet. We will mourn our earthly loss, but rejoice in heaven's gain. Please send your thoughts and prayers - particularly to her mother, brother & sisters, boyfriend, and 10-month-old daughter. May joy for her life win over sorrow for her death, may peace triumph over pain, and may laughter echo among the tears! ♥ Rest now, until we meet again..."

Afterwards, I sat reading through a variety of poems about death and goodbyes.

Here are some of my favorite findings.  They are comforting and rich.  Each of them reminds me that death cannot end the impact of our lives.  As such, we should maintain happiness and hope.  We should focus not on our troubles, but on our triumphs.  We should have no worries...

A song of living

Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.
I have sent up my gladness on wings, to be lost in the blue of the sky.
I have run and leaped with the rain, I have taken the wind to my breast.
My cheeks like a drowsy child to the face of the earth I have pressed.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I have kissed young love on the lips, I have heard his song to the end,
I have struck my hand like a seal in the loyal hand of a friend.
I have known the peace of heaven, the comfort of work done well.
I have longed for death in the darkness and risen alive out of hell.
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

I gave a share of my soul to the world, when and where my course is run.
I know that another shall finish the task I surely must leave undone.
I know that no flower, nor flint was in vain on the path I trod.
As one looks on a face through a window, through life I have looked on God,
Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow to die.

-Amelia Burr

I fall asleep

I fall asleep in the full and certain hope
That my slumber shall not be broken;
And that though I be all-forgetting,
Yet shall I not be forgotten,
But continue that life in the thoughts and deeds
of those I loved.

-Samuel Butler

Miss me, but let me go

When I come to the end of the road,
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little - but not for long.
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that once we shared.
Miss me, but let me go.
For this is a journey we must all take,
And each must go alone.
It's all part of the master plan,
A step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends we know,
Laugh at all the things we used to do.
Miss me, but let me go.



  1. So sorry for your loss Ashley. Your family will be in my prayers.


  2. So sorry for your loss, Ashley. Your cousin sounds like a wonderful person. My prayers go out to you and your family during this difficult time.

    I really liked the poems you shared here. The first one, "A Song of Living", really spoke to me. It's a reminder to live life to its fullest. It's sometimes hard to remember to do so, especially when times get tough. But ultimately, we should strive to live fully and find as much joy as we can while we're here on Earth.

  3. It is ironic that a beautiful person could pass so young while my family lost an 82 year old sister/mother/grandmother/great-grandmother who had lived a full life-the pain is the same. My heart goes out to that baby girl; she will forgo the pain much longer as her life progresses without her mother hold her hand.