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Something you tend to hear a lot when a loved one passes away is that they're never truly gone, not as long as we keep the memories alive. When I was younger and heard that saying, I thought it was a bit ridiculous, especially when I was in the midst of really deep grief. But now that I'm older, I see the truth in it: our loved ones live on through us.

In 2014, my amazing Grandma Ruth was diagnosed with multiple inoperable brain tumors. She decided to go to hospice, and at the end of July, she passed away.

It's been two years, and I'm just now starting to realize that Grandma Ruth still isn't truly gone. I see her in her children and grandchildren because the legacy she left us is everlasting. I feel like I'm making her proud when I crochet, knit, or make something because that's what Grandma taught me to do: make things. Whether I make something out of yarn or out of words, I feel like there's a thread of my grandma running through all of it. She encouraged me to write and always wanted to know when I'd be published. One thing I'll never forget is sitting in the hospital room after her diagnosis, when I promised I'd keep writing... for her. I even write under the nickname she gave me: Sky.

But the place I see her the most is in the mountains, her mountains, where she loved to walk and take in the world's beauty. In September, I visited the woods where she used to live, and I took a moment to soak in the forest--her forest. I wondered what she was thinking about when she walked through them, and I felt so close to her because I was right where she walked, prayed, and lived.

Grandma's woods
There's another loss I don't feel quite as much clarity about: my Grandpa Bob. I actually haven't been able to write about him until now. His passing in December of 2015 was a lot more sudden, and I feel like I'm still picking up the pieces. As odd as it sounds, I picture him every time I pour milk into his favorite glass. I'm still waiting for him to walk through the door or call during Broncos games.

And I'm still trying to figure out where I see him the most. It will take time for me to figure that out, just as it took time to figure out where Grandma Ruth was in the midst of my life. But when I think about my grandpa, all I feel is love: love for his family, love for Jesus, love for life. And I hope I can embrace the love he had for me and every human being. And I hope, like him, I can make my life count.

Take some time to think about how your loved ones still influence you. Even if you can't see your loved ones, I promise, they live on. Hold on to the fact that they're always there in the way you are, the way you live, the way you love, the way you remember. Remember them often. Remember them well.

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