How to keep a loved one alive in your heart….

My mother died after a 4 year battle with breast cancer when I was 4 years old, so I have some memories of her, but not many that I would call my own. A lot of what I know about my mother came from the stories my father, maternal grandparents, maternal aunt, and family friends told me about her.

One of my favorite things to do as a child was to sit at my Grandma Pajakowski’s kitchen table, planning cards and listening to her tell my sister and I stories about our mother from when she was a little girl.

My dad also kept my mother very much a part of our lives by telling us stories about their life together before and after their entry into parenthood. We often talked about how my mom was watching over us and talking to her in heaven become a regular part of my life.

While I only spent 4 years with my mother, I feel like she has always been a part of my life. At 27, my father died from pancreatic cancer, and since then, I have carried on the tradition of keeping him alive in my hear and in the lives of my children and nephews. It is part of our daily lives to tell stories about Grandpa Larry and Grandma Tina, to talk about how they are watching over us, and to let my daughters know how proud Grandpa Larry and Grandma Tina would be to be their grandparents.

And I still make it a common practice to talk to my parents. If you could be a fly on the wall when I am alone, you might hear such things as, “I know you are laughing up there at how stubborn Karson is and how much Layne pushes her boundaries!” or “Man I miss you today.” For me, keeping my parents a part of my life is part of how I have been able to accept the fact that they are not here on earth with me. It helps me to know that they are still with me in my heart.

~ Cindy Schoell

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