Pat recently decided to run for city council again, and we’re in the middle of elections right now. (Vote Sullenger Nov. 5th!)
A few weeks ago, each candidate turned in a biography to the local paper. Shortly after Pat turned his in, he received a phone call from one of the paper’s employees. Their conversation went a little like this:
The employee said, “I think you made a mistake in your bio, you stated you have four kids, but only mentioned three.”
Pat thought back over his article, and replied, “Are you sure? I’m pretty sure I mentioned four.”
Without hesitation, the employee responded, “Yes, you mentioned Preslee, and then Ledger, Cannon, and Cruiz.
Now Pat was really confused, he sat there in silence for a moment, when he suddenly understood. He kindly responded, “We’ve had four kids, and just because we lost our daughter, doesn’t mean we don’t continue to count her as a member of our family.”
The employee’s response was a little awkward, and Pat felt like the employee thought he was crazy for counting Preslee as a member of the family. Their conversation quickly came to an end.
Though this experience was mild, we, along with friends, have dealt with much more at times. We’ve come to realize many people feel the same way about death. In their eyes, it’s a taboo topic, and there’s never a reason to discuss it. They tend to act as if the person who died never existed, and feel very uncomfortable when reminded of them. Most often, it seems these people have had very little experience with death.
Our view couldn’t be more different. Yes, Preslee died, but Pat and I both know she continues to exist. Though she isn’t physically with us anymore, her spirit continues to live, and reside elsewhere. Therefore, everything about her wasn’t buried in that tiny pink and white casket we placed into the ground three short years ago.
We know her life meant something, and she influenced many, and she continues to do so with this blog. I carried and delivered her like any other child who’s lived in this world. She made us parents, and we were fortunate enough to spend 18 months with her. She taught us many irreplaceable lessons. We cannot, and will not pretend she never existed. Pat and I have never heard anyone who lost a parent state they never had a mom or a dad, but many people don’t understand why we continue to count our child.
Some of you might feel our beliefs are a little off, and that’s okay. But please don’t feel the need to constantly tell us. I’ve had people ask, “Do you really believe in life after death? How can you be so sure?” I’m going to be a little bold, and state, we don’t only believe it, we know it. Life after death is no longer a topic of faith, it’s now become knowledge – due to the many personal and sacred experiences we’ve been blessed with. Experiences which are far too sacred to share over the internet, but we testify those who pass away continue to live.
These experiences have changed us down to our very core. Because when you understand this world isn’t the end, it changes everything about you. It becomes life changing. That’s why in last weeks post, I explained how I desperately hope my boys will have experiences with their older sister, and they will be able to remember it. I strongly feel it will put them on a different path in life, just like it did their parents.
So I beg you, even if you don’t believe the way we do, please don’t make us feel awkward for remembering our child. Just because she’s out of sight, does not mean she doesn’t continue to exist. She has more involvement with our family than you probably realize.
And because of those reasons, I’ll continue onward as a proud mom, who loves and remembers her daughter, just as much as her three boys. Because Preslee continues to influence me in ways her brothers never will.
Death is Nothing at All
Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That, we still are.
Call me by my old familiar name.
Speak to me in the easy way
which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed
at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me. Pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word
that it always was.
Let it be spoken without effect.
Without the trace of a shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same that it ever was.
There is absolute unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind
because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere. Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.
Henry Scott Holland