Sometimes I come across something that triggers a memory from the past that I just can’t seem to shake. A scent, a piece of music, an experience that almost throws me into some kind of time warp where I end up dropping squarely in the middle of a moment in the past that I feel like I’ve lost somehow.

It’s funny how it’s often the happier memories that can usher in a sense of sadness that seems deeper than the not-so-happy memories. For me, I know it’s because I feel like they’re over. I was the kid fighting tears in the car on the way home from the cottage or the family trip. Over time, I’d start to dread the end of something so much that I’d be thinking about it almost the entire time I was meant to be enjoying whatever adventure we were on. I still do that. But I’m trying not to.

Some friends were praying for me last year, and this memory came up of my grandparents’ place. They lived on Georgian Bay, and it was a second home for me. After they sold it, the grieving came slowly and steadily. It wasn’t just about losing a great place. It was losing memories. It was losing relationship with people who I knew I wouldn’t see nearly as often. It was losing a place that I could go and breath in the familiar smell of logs and sand and water and Grandpa’s pipe. It felt like it was torn away from my soul. And I was trying to heal the gaping wound by ignoring it until it went away.

As my friends prayed, I saw myself sitting in the living room of the cottage and Jesus spoke to me and said, “This isn’t gone, love. It’s a part of you.” I saw the room, and the beach and the bay, and even the people, suddenly absorb into my chest. Like the whole thing—everything beautiful and peaceful and grounding that I had missed so terribly—became a part of who I was. Of who I am. I opened my eyes and, although the sadness still lingered (old habits die hard), I also felt bigger inside. And it changed my perspective somewhat. So that I can go on a trip or be in the midst of a great conversation and, instead of dreading the end, realize that it is becoming a part of me. Something I will walk away with and never lose.

Tell me your story. Have you experienced anything like this? What has helped you overcome this kind of loss?


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