Hugs to everyone who has shared their stories.
On a somewhat lighter note:
On the day my grandfather was laid to rest in January, the St. Louis Blues were dead last in the NHL.
From that day forward, they suddenly started on an incredible tear through the league, surprisingly making the playoffs.
Two days ago, the St. Louis Blues won their first Stanley Cup in franchise history, ending a 52 year drought.
My grandfather was from St. Louis and a lifelong St. Louis sports fan.
You're welcome, Blues fans.
Something that I have always found comforting is the First Law of Thermodynamics, which states in part that the total energy of an isolated system remains constant. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but rather it is only transformed or transferred from from one to another.
When we lose loved ones, their energy is not destroyed. Rather, they have transferred it in pieces into others with every interaction, the largest pieces naturally going to those they loved, and we have transformed part of it into our memories of them. My grandfather is not truly gone, only different. He lives on now in millions of different pieces, spread out in a thin layer like snow or confetti over the lives of those he met, those he influenced and those he loved. He is in the lessons I learned from him. In the ways his love made me grow. In the stories about him I tell. And he is transferred in part yet again every time I use the things he taught me to help others. I've told stories about him here, so in a very small way, he also lives on in all of you. And now, pieces of your loved ones are here with me. Very small pieces. Perhaps too tiny to notice. But still they are there, living on with me. And this love or energy can even be passed down through generations, long past when names are forgotten. The love we give others is in many ways the love that we have found or received, which often came to us from others, which came to them from others, etc. etc. stretching back perhaps forever.
The people we love are always with us. We carry their energy inside us. We give it to others, and we receive some of their loved ones' energy in return. Death changes things, but it does not fully destroy a person. It doesn't have that power. It cannot claim the parts of ourselves that we choose to give to others.
And children/babies are a wonderful outlet to pour out the love of a million generations and allow those people to live on again. My children will know my grandfather. They'll never meet him, they may not be ever be aware of it, but they will know his love and they will know his humor. They'll just know it in my voice, not his.