Memories Linger

by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan

Last night, my husband and I led worship in the online Memorial Service of our friend who passed away due to COVID-19. She was only 39 years old.

Videos and photos of her were shown. Family and friends from all over the world shared their memories of her when she was still alive. One after another, we took time to honor her.

It was a precious time of remembering, crying, laughing, and encouraging each other as we all grieve and mourn for her loss. At the same time, we celebrate the life she lived and rejoice knowing that she’s in a better place where there’s no more tears, pain, worries and fear.

I believe this is just one of the hundreds of memorial services and gatherings happening all around the world.

Millions of lives have been taken away by this pandemic. Millions of families are in shock, despair, and grief for the loss of their loved ones whom they did not have the chance to hug, kiss, say their goodbyes for the last time. The only thing they can do is to let the memories of their beloved linger in their minds and hearts.

It would have been a lot better if we can hug and comfort each other physically but this unforgiving virus won’t allow us to. We can only give encouragement and comfort from afar. Fortunately, technology enables us to do this virtually.

Death has become so real. With everything that’s happening around us, hearing the loss of friends and acquaintances almost every day, and with the realization of the futility of life, I learned to live each day differently than before.

What used to matter before like the pursuit of financial success and the acquisition of material things have become trivial and secondary.

I have become more grateful for the simple things – the gift of life, the air that I breathe, the chance to wake up to a new day, and the opportunity to spend precious time with my husband and children.

I get to appreciate the mess that my children create, the noise they make and the pile of plates in the sink and the clothes that need to be laundered. I am thankful to hear the voices of my family, friends, and relatives at the other end of the line, see their faces virtually, and read their messages via Facebook.

I am just so glad that I am still alive and breathing.

If only we can bring back time. If only we can do more and express our love for the people who are close to us before they leave. Unfortunately, we can’t. But we can do better and do it to those who are still around.

In one of my morning devotions, I heard a Pastor say: “Don’t procrastinate. Procrastination is the graveyard of unexpected blessings that have been eulogized by our excuses.”

At a time when lives are carelessly wasted, in a world where death is as real as the setting of the sun, there must be a sense of urgency in reaching out to the people we love, in mending broken relationships, in serving others with our resources and talents, in becoming a light to the dark world, in bringing hope to depressing situations and displaying love to those who need it most.

We are given ‘now’ and ‘today’ to do these, not ‘later’ for we are not promised tomorrow. In a blink of an eye, our lives can drastically change when the people we care for are taken away.

Let us make the most of every precious moment God has given us to spend with the people He has blessed us with. Let us not allow regrets of lost time steal our days. While we still have time, let us give abundantly, serve wholeheartedly, love exceedingly.

To all those who have lost loved ones in this season, I pray for comfort, strength, grace and peace to overwhelm you. May the God of all hope heal and encourage your hearts.

And to all those who have gone ahead, thank you for sharing your lives with the people you love. Your presence may be no more, but your memories will forever linger.

Read more Personal Reflections:
It Is Well with My Soul
PLEASE SPARE THEM FROM DELTA: A Prayer for the Children

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