I was leaving work today when I ran into two co-workers talking. Nothing too unusual about that. One of the co-workers had been a long-term substitute teacher from last year. Nothing too unusual there, except she was a long-term sub for her cousin, a teacher, who had died suddenly the year before of pneumonia. It was a devastating year for the school, both students and staff. The deceased teacher, Margie, is sorely missed by many. Especially at Halloween.
Turns out that Halloween was a special time for Margie, and one of my fellow teachers was really missing Margie. What could I say?
Snicker-doodles! That’s what I’d say.
Earlier in the day I had noticed that someone had brought in some store-bought cookies to share. They were Snicker-doodles. Snicker-doodles are an old-time kind of cookie. Out of the blue, when I saw the cookies, I was reminded of my first wife, Patti. She had been a baker of Snicker-doodles. It was an old family recipe that my kids still use, but their mom doesn’t: she died. It’s been over 12 years, but there in the snack room, I was reminded again of the loss.
So I told my co-workers about Snicker-doodles and what I call the Fraternity of the Brokenhearted. They were wondering about the hurt and loss they felt. I explained, “That’s called being brokenhearted. At least that’s what I call it.”
And then I told them about today’s Snicker-doodles.
The pain and loss never really goes away, but it lessens. And those of us who have been brokenhearted understand each other. We are generally more compassionate with others, and we tend to appreciate the moment much more than others.
Reminders come, like Halloween, or Snicker-doodles, or seeing that your grown son’s FaceBook quote is the same quote that’s on his mom’s gravestone. Poignant? Heart-rending? Perhaps, or maybe just a reminder of a loved-one lost, but still loved.
The words helped my friends. And I thought of an idea for tomorrow.
Perhaps we can make a “Happy Halloween” card for Margie’s grave signed by a few of her work friends. And the inscription inside the card? My suggestion is, “Margie, You are missed, and we will always love you!”
Loved ones may pass, but our love for them lives on.
Footnote: A second chance
Sometimes, new loves come. Ten years ago I remarried: I married a widow, Leslie. It often takes a widow to understand a widower, and vice versa. We both have fond memories of past loves, and we both are so blessed that we have, by the grace of God, a second chance at love.