Letting Go Isn’t Forgetting

In grief, letting go feels like forgetting. I was scrolling through my text messages today and came across messages from my niece who recently passed. I looked through our conversations. My heart was warmed, but I’m not ready to let go. I’m not ready to delete the messages. It is a way of keeping her close. 

I began to wonder, “What if my phone crashes and I lose my messages?” I didn’t like how that felt, so I took this screenshot. I wouldn’t be able to scroll through the conversation, but at least I would have part of it. I know it won’t always be this way. I know that letting go isn’t forgetting.

Letting go is part of the struggle with grief. We wrestle with moving forward thinking that equals forgetting our loved one. We cling to hope and reach for comfort. Slowly, God shows us the way forward.

Remember your word to your servant,
for you have given me hope.
50 My comfort in my suffering is this:
Your promise preserves my life. (Psalm 119 49-50 NIV).

When my dad passed, I was heartbroken and angry that my children wouldn’t get to know him. I was afraid of letting go of everyday reminders. I thought I would forget. It has been 17 years since he passed. He is not forgotten. My children know his stories and his famous phrases. I still talk to him. He is still very much in my life. The promise of hope and comfort in scripture are being lived out.

Letting go isn’t forgetting. Letting go is honoring. What? Yes.  It honors my dad when I continue to move forward and pursue life and love to its fullest. It will honor Stephanie as I do the same. She wants us to live life to its fullest. She wants us to love deeply. She wants us to move forward.

I know I will get there. For now, I’m still holding those text messages close. Eventually, I will be able to delete them. I know in doing so she will not be forgotten. She will always be in my heart. Her smile, and her positive, no-nonsense attitude will spur me on. Her light will not go out. Her memory will not fade. It will evolve into honoring the gift her life brought those who knew her.

Allowing that evolution to take place is difficult. The timeline is different for everyone. In the meantime, we cling to the One who brings hope and reminds us there will be joy again.

How have you honored a loved one by letting go? Share your experience here and breathe life and bring hope to others.

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