Love is what our towns are made of. We are reminded of that when we experience tragedies like we have recently with the loss of our children and peers. Look around you. What do you notice? Are you reading this with your children, spouses, family and friends? Have you cried on someone’s shoulder because the pain was too strong? Have you smiled because you were able to reflect on a memory you had with the loved ones who were lost? This is what death brings. This is love. This is our town’s power.
We hold races and events, establish charities, post pictures, write articles, and wear certain clothing and numbers for our lost ones. We are effective and we are strong. We do not forget for one second the faces of the lost, the way they made us smile and laugh. And we must never forget the way they lived, so innocent and passionately. While it is devastating to lose a loved one, it inspires us to live life in a better way; a way for them. Death teaches us to be selfless, to turn the other cheek, to say something nice and to live vicariously.
We are fortunate to live in towns that are so close-knit and supportive. Our children are strong and passionate. If someone were to ask them where they are from, they will have an answer much deeper than “Williamsport,” “Clear Spring,” “Smithsburg” or “Boonsboro.” They will answer with pride and passion in knowing that their towns have helped to shape them and establish friendships that they will never take for granted.
I challenge you to live with strength and love. Hug your treasured ones a little longer and share a conversation with someone that’s a little deeper. And live for those who are lost. May they forever rest in peace, until we meet again.
Woman’s legacy lives on through Silver Lining program
To the editor:
Several years ago, as the painful first Mother’s Day without my mom approached, I shared with readers my thoughts on how we could best honor, thank and “gift” our Moms on their special day. In the wake of my own mom’s passing, in the sorting of her worldly possessions, I unwrapped many a gift given over the years, carefully rewrapped and safely tucked away — a wallet, a robe, a handbag — deemed “too good” for every day, and ultimately for any day. Though appreciated, they weren’t necessarily needed and, sadly, never enjoyed.
Each year, we search, agonize and ultimately “settle” for the latest gadget or doo-dad — there simply has to be something.
In the several years since her death, my brothers and I have talked over what meant most and mattered to her. Her kindness to animals was legend. She never left a restaurant without a tidily wrapped napkin with some tiny tidbit to take home to the dog in whichever home she was visiting at the time. And she left food on the patio of her mobile home, just “in case” a hungry cat should happen by. As we grew up, she taught us to love and have compassion and kindness for all living creatures. She patiently accepted those that “followed us home” and often gave in to the question: “Can we keep it?”
Her last companion was a cat who wandered up to her door one day. He was her reason to get up in the morning. The day was structured around shared mealtimes. He snoozed in the sun as she wandered and watered her gardens. He curled at the foot of her bed as she read herself to sleep. He taught us how critical a companion animal can be to an elderly person, indeed to any person.