55 Plus is a publication of the Times Colonist, providing items of interest to seniors and their families across Vancouver Island

Gone But Not Forgotten

One day we will all be gone, but not forgotten
One day we will all be gone, but not forgotten

Written by: Laura Van Sprang, Manager of Sands Funeral Chapel of Victoria

March 23, 2022

One of the most rewarding things about being a funeral director is the privilege of meeting so many amazing people. When a family chooses our funeral home to assist them, they are usually pleasantly surprised with the connection that is made with their funeral director and team of funeral professionals. The directors know it’s going to happen, because it usually does and we look forward to it. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret… it is not only the families we serve that impact our lives; it is also those who have passed away.

I have been personally inspired by so many people who are no longer with us. I did not know them, they did not know me and they will never know they made a difference in my life, but they did and they do. I can recount numerous occasions, sitting around the arrangement table with a grieving family, listening intently to the incredible stories of a recently deceased family member.  Hearing of their triumphs and tribulations, academic and professional successes, what they did for their family, their community, if they wrote, painted, invented, played a musical instrument, and the list goes on. I love the way people speak with such pride about their loved ones, it is truly a part of the healing, and we appreciate that they share this with us.

I’ll share a memory I have of a woman who was entrusted into our care after her passing. She was a very tiny lady who was almost 100 years old, and I envisioned her life as being calm and peaceful: just as she looked. Then, her adult children arrived to make the arrangements. Well, as it turned out, this tiny lady was only small in stature, but big in heart, integrity and determination. Widowed at an early age and left with 3 very young children to raise on her own, this single mom who did not speak English, decided to move them all to Canada for a better life. Upon arrival she learned the language, worked hard, and persevered for her family. I was now sitting across from her children: a doctor, an engineer and a teacher, all who attributed their success to the tiny lady in our care. I was overcome with emotion and completely inspired by their story, their pride and especially, their mom.

Even something as simple as a zip up robe can have an impact. When a daughter brought in a robe to have her mother dressed in for their final goodbye, she said, “It’s not fancy, but it was her favourite”. I thought, A zip up robe? I love it! The ties on my own robe were always coming undone and getting in the way. Not only do I now own a zip up robe, but I bought one for my mom as well, and she loves it too! I was totally inspired by someone who is no longer here. I shared the news of my purchase with that family, and the grandson, who had bought the robe for his grandmother, thought that was pretty special.

So, if you ever wonder if you will make a difference in this world once you’re gone, I promise that you will. Our legacies truly do live on through those left living; who tell our stories and proudly go on about who we were and what we did. And you never know what impact you may have or inspiration you may be to someone you never had the chance to meet.

One day we will all be gone, but not forgotten. 

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