About a week ago I bought a little app for jigsaw puzzles. The neat thing about it is that you can use your own photos to make any puzzle you want. You can make them as complicated (550 pieces) or as simple (42 pieces) as you want.
I started out with some of the puzzles the app offered and then started on some art work I had saved before moving on to family photos like this one. Of the five people in this photo, only two of us remain on this earth, my sister Judy on the far left and myself on the far right. The other three people, from the left, are Mother, Daddy, and my oldest sister Betty.
I have to admit, it felt a little odd putting this particular puzzle together. I thought, “piece of cake, right?” I know these people. I’ve looked at this picture many times.
I started with the edges as is my usual habit. Then I started the middle. I came to a point where I had a woman’s mouth. Was it Betty’s? Was it Mother’s…or even mine? I looked closer at the tiny piece on the screen and suddenly knew, without a doubt, it was Mother. Tears sprang to my eyes as I remembered the last time I heard her speak and breathe, moments before she passed away in my arms. Hers was the first voice I ever heard, the voice who could yell me home a block away, and the voice I remembered singing hymns in church. Those lips kissed away booboos and heartbreaks.
Next came a set of twinkly, mischievous blue eyes. Well! Those could belong to any of us, but that particular twinkle was all Betty when she laughed. We were all happy in this moment. It was Daddy and Mother’s 65th wedding anniversary and Daddy was joking and teasing as only he could. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but we all laughed just as the camera snapped our picture.
What’s my point? It is this. Even when those we love pass to heaven before us, we still love them, still know them well, and they are and always will be part of us. We may not be able to ring them up on the phone or feel their loving arms around us, but they are just as much with us as our beating hearts within us.
Close your eyes and picture your spouse’s eyes, your father’s hands, or hear your children’s screams of laughter. That’s how well we know the ones we love and it’s forever.