“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” -Helen Keller
Throughout history we humans have grieved the passing of our loved one. As cultures grew and civilization expanded, peoples of the world began to tie their grief to their particular belief systems. The great religions of the world helped them work through what it means when a human being dies. Because of death’s inevitability, the act of remembering deceased loved ones has always been a way to hold life of another in our minds. In this way memory can be a wise teacher and a profound comfort. There was and continues to be a great longing in the human heart to reach beyond. The notion that deceased loved ones remain with us in some capacity is an ancient idea that is expressed differently in different belief systems. But what we share in common is the innate need, the great longing to memorialize those we have loved and to recognize the special characteristics of that longing.
Our loved ones live on in the hearts and minds of those of us who are left. The great longing is really for an undying connection to all the people we have loved. We come to learn over time that the goodness they engendered does not perish, but lives in the acts of those who witnessed that goodness, learned something from it and passed it on.
Tighe, John Sidney. “Part One: Remembering: The Great Longing.” Beyond This Day, Good Will Publishers,
2000, p. 10