“‘The term is over . . . The dream is ended: this is the morning.’ And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them.
And for us this is the end of all stories, and we can most truly say they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.
All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”
– The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis
The year 2009 is before us. The coming chapters of time are the real story. Futures, dreams unfulfilled yet possible – time untouched. Waiting.
Beginnings of the story are unfolding. Everything before is only the cover and title page.
Turn the page.
I’ve read Lewis’s “The Silver Chair” dozens of times – the message of hope, of mercy, of justice, of eternity, of death and of excruciating joy – the truth of the fantasy grabs me.
Excruciating joy – joy that is so full it cannot be bodily contained. I believe this is part of the reason our bodies cannot last and the reason our souls live beyond this life. The flesh is limiting. Dreams, true reality – are infinite, limitless.
There are endless chapters ahead for all. They will come and they will be more precious than gold.
Like everyone, my life has been full of many loved ones who now are gone. The sadness of missing souls is emptiness. Filling that void with memory of purpose helps turn the page – turns pages of a story’s end into pages of a new story, a better story, the best story. An endless story.
Those I remember are both grandmas (Mom’s mother and Dad’s mother – they were best friends), Papa (Dad’s dad), a sister I never knew who lived a few days, a grandfather I never knew who had a tractor accident before I was born, and a cousin who made it to the big leagues – made his dreams come true, then was lost. The tragedy of loss can be consuming, but lost lives mean something. Their meaning is what makes tragedy beautiful.
Mom’s mother taught me independence and love. She worked harder than anyone I knew and she loved every living soul – more importantly, every living soul who knew her loved her.
Dad’s mother instilled the importance of education. She never went past the eighth grade, but was passionately involved in her children and grandchildren excelling beyond her means.
Dad’s dad defined loyalty and family strength. He was quiet. He was strong. He was a farmer – harvesting the fruits of the land and the fruits of a family’s love. He was a carpenter. He built houses, barns, sheds, and lives – beyond his stature.
My sister who I’ve always thought of as the heavenliest angel – for she is. The princess of paradise.
Mom’s dad who was joy personified according to those who knew him. He smiled, he hugged, he laughed – he played with dynamite on the Fourth of July.
My cousin who worked at his dream with unwavering commitment from the time he was a small child. He never gave up. He trained, he focused, he loved, he remained forever humble. He was truly grateful for all he ever achieved. I loved him. His parents loved him, his brother and sister loved him, his team loved him. He was famous in a way, but he never knew that really – not that it mattered to him.
This is significant to me for this reason specifically: When it came time for his funeral, his friends chartered a flight, but seating was somewhat limited. The groundskeeper where he worked, although not included in the chartered travel plans – drove hundreds of miles instead – so that he could be at the funeral – and to tell my family how special my cousin was to him. My cousin, he said, talked to him every time they saw each other. It meant something to him, a groundskeeper I may have never heard of or thought about – it meant his life was touched by genuine kind continuous words from someone who didn’t have to give him the time of day.
My cousin was a regular Joe – a spectacular soul.
This is my past, past lives in my life, past chapters in my book.
This morning, I read some obituaries of lives not in my past – but in others’ – those I don’t know. But some knew. Someone always knows someone who now is gone. Someone always feels empty and sad. Someone always remembers though that their loved one meant something.
Following are remembrances of lives loved. I do not know them – probably no one I know knows them, but some do … their lives mattered. So, they matter to me.
From far away Nova Scotia, as reported in The Chronicle Herald, here are a few of many that mattered:
“Murray Stewart Veinot . . . 88, passed away on Sunday, December 28, 2008 . . . in the arms of his family . . . He was a Veteran of the Second World War and a retired meat cutter . . . loved being around his family, especially spending time with his “Rug Rats”. He loved watching things grow in his gardens, feeding the birds, doing folk art crafts and fixing whatever was broken. He will be missed by his wife of 67 years . . . “Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day.”
Charleen McFetridge . . . 70 . . . passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her family on December 24, 2008 . . . Special thank you to Red Cross, Palliative Care, Home Care . . . for your services. Also a special thanks to close friends and family of the community for your help and visits during this difficult time.
Daniel Allen MacIsaac . . . passed away on Wednesday, December 24, 2008, at the age of 82 years . . . Dan served the church as a lay minister and was a prolific writer of family stories and teachings of the spirit. His great passion was his family. He loved to be in the company of his children, grandchildren and great-granddaughter. He was very proud of all their accomplishments.
Lena Marie “Betty” Loppie (West) was called home to be with our Lord on Thursday, December 25, 2008 . . . The family would like to thank everyone who helped them during their time of sorrow.
Ethel Elizabeth Cluett (Squarey) 69, RN, CIM, HCOM, DTM . . . It is with the saddest of hearts that we announce the passing away of one of the angels of our family, Ethel Elizabeth, on Sunday, December 28, 2008 . . . Over the years, she managed to raise three children while obtaining her CIM from UCCB, her HCOM diploma . . . gave of her life freely to all who needed her help. She had to curtail some of her activities in later years due to heart problems and, just recently, a courageous fight with cancer.”
– – –
This I believe, the real story is here. Past lives mean something. They teach us the value of family, how to face difficult times, how to be proud of accomplishments, to be thankful for those who help, and to fight courageously.
To always remember, and what’s left behind is only the beginning – the cover and the title page.
The Real Story has yet to be told.
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