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Life Goes On – It Really Does

By William (Al) Jordan c. February 9, 2013


Often life’s most valuable lessons come to us in the least expected ways.  One of those times occurred for me upon the death of my wife’s Mother at the ripe old age of ninety-five. All loss of life is grievous, but my Mother-in-Law’s passing was particularly so. 
My wife was an only child and her Mother lived with us for almost forty years.  She had, in all ways, become like a second Mother to me and I a son to her.  She graced our home and shaped our children’s lives and characters from the very beginning.
A good life burns like a candle giving light and warmth. Photo Credit:
I was to give her eulogy at the funeral on that designated day, and the night before we had a house full of people staying over including one of her great grandchildren who was ten years old at the time and had been given her great grandmother’s maiden name, Murphy.  Murphy is one of those blessed creatures who sees life with eyes of innocence, yet has a wisdom far exceeding her years.  She can make your eyes light up and a smile come to your face simply by walking into the room.  Her great grandmother was so proud to have Murphy named for her so there was always a very special bond between them.


On the morning of the funeral and the eulogy that I was to deliver, I awakened early, as I usually do, and went downstairs while everyone else in the house was still sleeping.  I cherish that early morning alone time.  When I walked into the kitchen, in the place where her great grandmother had always sat at table and in her special chair on rollers, there was a napkin unfolded with big (childlike) writing on it and a kind of list in the chair. 


I thought to myself, oh how precious, Murphy has written a going-away note to her Mamma. That is so sweet. Her great-grandmother would be so pleased.  I went over to read what Murphy had written on the note and what it said in her ten year old writing was, “Pawpaw, would you and Uncle Andy like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?  I recommend Thin Mints, Samoa’s and Savannah Smiles.”  I smiled and had to refrain from laughing out loud.  This moment was precisely what I needed to bring lightness to lift the heaviness and provide some perspective on things. 


The significance of that event began to dawn on me.  Life goes on. The supreme lesson to be learned from death is that life goes on.  Whether we continue with our everyday existence, the living of life, the facing of challenges, the elation of new joy, the cycles of ups and downs, or that life has gone elsewhere and in some new form, life goes on.  There is great solace in that realization.  Death is just a transition. In truth, death is a phantom, a non-reality in one sense because life goes on – it really does, whether here or elsewhere. In the final analysis, that which we call life, that which we identify as living, breathing spirit, is energy and energy never dies, it just changes form. 


No matter what happens to us in this life, what particular trials, or sorrows or challenges we face, we need to grasp that beautiful truth taught me by my granddaughter in a simple request to buy Girl Scout cookies...Life goes on.