Looking down at the cemetery plot, I could only feel tears streaming down my face. My grandmother had just passed away at the age of 96, almost 97.
People were constantly saying to me, "...but she lived a full and long life;" however, at that moment none of those statements really mattered. I only felt a sense of loss - a huge one at that.
Still, with my eyes on the grave, with tears welling up, I began emembering my grandmother. I could even begin seeing what I thought might be shadows of her in the cemetery grave.
I thought I was also experiencing the wonderful scents of her kitchen - the aroma of her wonderful chicken soup that filled her pots every Friday afternoon and the fragrance of the sizzling potato pancakes which always had been my favorites.
Just then I remembered a story about my grandmother when she was in the hospital one time, already in her late 80's. She was in a special hospital room for an x-ray to be taken. The technician left the room ready to turn the x-ray machine on; however, my grandmother started screaming, "WAIT, WAIT!" The technician stormed back into the room frantically asking, "Mrs. Segal, Mrs. Segal, are you okay? What's the matter?"
To this my almost 90-year-old grandmother calmly replied, "You failed to ask me whether I might be pregnant."
That, and many more positive stories about my grandmother, told me who she really was. As I stood at the cemetery, I noticed that my tears had changed to smiles.
The key, I believe, to overcoming grief is in "memories." As long as I remember my grandmother in my heart, she will always be "with me."
As the funeral ended, I whispered to my grandmother that I loved her very much and would visit her soon - if not at the cemetery, then in my memories and then when I get home.
Michael Jordan Segal, (c) 2001

Michael Segal is a social worker at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. An author and an inspirational speaker. He has been on national television as well as having national magazines feature stories about his "comeback" following his being shot in the head and left for dead as an innocent bystander to a robbery. Mike's story, "My Miraculous Family," was first published in "Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul." To contact Mike by email go to: mike@inspirationbymike.com or visit is website at: www.inspirationbymike.com
This really hit home for me. My mom just died at the age of 78. She raised 14 kids.
She used to say that she wouldn't have much to leave us. I reminded her that she was leaving us a priceless heritage, a foundation on which to build and an anchor to keep us from drifting away too far.
I didn't go to the funeral and I haven't been to her grave. Instead, I see her in my dreams and I hear her in my daily walk.
I visit her often in my memories. I can't wait until I get home to see her and dad again.
Life is short, make it count.
Have a great day...
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