In honor of Alexa Rodheim Culter:
When I’m gone and the minutes turn into hours, and the hours turn into days, the heaviness inside your heart may seem too much to bear.
I know you will long to hear my voice sing the songs that I loved, see my face, sit beside me, tell me you love me, hear my laugh, or just have those simple conversations we once had.
I know that it probably hurts more than anything else ever has, and you feel like you just cannot go on.
I am sorry I had to go, but my body just couldn’t do it anymore. There is nothing more that I wanted than to spend a lifetime with all of you. I fought with every ounce of my being because of the love we all share. What I want you to understand is that even though all of that physical stuff is gone from sight, our love will never cease to exist. The love that we share is what will carry you through. Our ties, our bond, and our love cannot be severed.
Love is the most powerful force on Earth and transcends all…even death.
Life will be different when I’m gone; you won’t like it and you may want to fight it. You will want to scream out loud in agony, but when you pick yourself back up off the floor, like I expect you to, remember that love. Let that love emanate through your body. I am there, our love is there, I am just gone from sight.
You all are aware that I always had high expectations of myself and I have even higher expectations of you now that I am gone. When every cell in your being wants to give up and wallow because the sadness and pain are unbearable, I want you to take some time and allow yourself that, but then I need you to put two feet on the ground for me. When you cannot do it for yourself, do it for me. I no longer have that privilege.
You are going to want the world to stop turning, and you will want to holler at all of the people continuing their lives while you are stuck in this vast array of darkness, but when it is dark, I want you to wake up and watch the sun rise. Each day, when you feel like you cannot put one foot in front of the other, watch the sun slowly rise through the clouds and know that I am still there with you. When night falls and the sorrow rears its ugly head, go outside and look up at the stars and the moon and realize the intricacies of the universe and speak to me, I am there.
With the change of every season, think of me and find a way to honor my spirit. As the Spring showers start falling, the birds start singing, and the magnolia trees start blooming, take a moment to take it all in and appreciate the beauty. During the Summer, enjoy the warmth of the sun on your face, the flowers, the fresh cut grass, the insanely beautiful summer storms and rainbows. I will be in each of these things. As Fall begins to come around the corner…enjoy the crisp air, and as you watch the leaves fall from the trees, realize that this death will soon give way to a rebirth to life. When the snow starts falling for the first time, go outside and let the snowflakes fall on your tongue, and enjoy each moment.
We are always connected, you just need to find a way to keep that connection…it may be through a ladybug, or a butterfly, or a song, or a beautiful sunset, or some crazy thing we did together, but it is there, and it will always be there. You now have the opportunity to expand your heart into something you didn’t know existed; I have no doubt in your ability to do so.
Most importantly, I need you all to live your lives with strength and love…two qualities that I showed as I lived my life. I need you all to live boldly, with passion and determination. I expect you to love with everything inside of your soul, unapologetically. Love is all we have to give of ourselves, and love is what is going to carry you through this unbearable pain. So when I am gone, love big, love fully with every piece of your heart, and don’t leave anything ever left unsaid.
Speak my name often, tell my story, and teach everyone who comes into your path. Close your eyes and open your spirit and you will feel me beside you…guiding you every step of the way. You all gave me the best life a girl could ask for.
Author: Jill Kottmeier
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Han Cheng Yeh/Flickr