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The Holidays; The Power of Grief, Gratitude and Everyday Heroes

Updated: Nov 25, 2018

I had an aunt and uncle that grew up, met and were married listening to Elvis Presley. They loved his music their entire lives and also managed to get just about everyone on both sides of their family’s hooked on him, despite the fact that Elvis passed away on August 16, 1977.

My aunt and uncle were together for more than forty-five years and both worked extremely hard, struggled to get everything they had, were generous to a fault and always had a very welcoming home.

It was just before my aunt was about to retire that they both decided to sell their original family home in the city and buy their dream house on the water in a small country village.

They had only spent a single summer there when the unthinkable happened, one very foggy November morning my aunt left for work and being unfamiliar with the roads, coupled with the intense amount of fog, accidentally rolled her car through a stop sign and into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

She died instantly, leaving behind her husband, three adult children, seven grand children, three sisters, a brother, numerous sister & brother in-laws, dozens of nieces & nephews, and many friends.

I was asked to speak at her funeral and was faced with the incredible honor, and unenviable task of trying to convey my own feelings, as well as everyone else’s during this very emotional time.

This is what I decided to say, I sincerely hope it brings a measure of solace to those who grieve and inspires others to take a moment to like and share this post, especially with anyone grieving a sudden and unexpected loss this holiday season.

If Not For You
 If not for you we may never have known;
The magic in marrying ones soul mate; The pleasure of a sister in-laws company. Or the laughter shared with an aunt.
We would not have felt;
The delight in a mother’s joy; The passion of a grandmother’s pride. Or the sorrow in her loss.
If not for you, we may never have seen;
The compassion and generosity of one who could not always afford to give. Or the worry that came with both.
We could not have shared;
The depth of a sister’s love; the grief in a friend’s passing. Or the anguish of a relationship lost.
If not for you; we would have nothing to rejoice. 
©2005 Richard Lawrence Belford

“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~ A. A. Milne - aka Winnie the Pooh ~ 

As fate would have it my aunt’s husband passed away eight years later on January 16, her accident happened in November 2005, also on the 16th.

I can still remember listening to Elvis’s song; “Loving Arms” the day my uncle died. It’s amazing how a song, coupled with the dates that my aunt and uncle passed away on, can magically captivate the essence of their lives. I am grateful for having known them, and miss them both.

In this life people often leave, or are left wishing they had just five more minutes and even the magic of Christmas cannot possibly give those who grieve what they would truly love.

This holiday season, as family and friends gather to share their memories of loved ones, author Richard Lawrence Belford believes “It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later" cannot only help, but also invites you to view the following video of just some of the book’s beautifully illustrated artwork, uplifting quotes and heartfelt parables, accompanied by Silent Night.

The book is available worldwide in a Paperback or Kindle edition on amazon.com and can also be purchased on barnesandnoble.com in the United States, and chapters.indigo.ca in Canada.

Every minute someone leaves this world behind. We are all in the line; you or I could be next. We never know how many people or who is ahead of us. We cannot move to the back of the line. We cannot step out of the line. We cannot avoid the line. 

So while we wait in line - make moments count, make a difference, make the call, make the time, make your gifts known, make everyone feel like someone, make your voice heard, make the small things big, make someone smile, make the change, make up, make peace, make waves and make sure you have no regrets.


About the Author: Richard Lawrence Belford is an Inspirational Writer who has been on a nineteen year creative journey that has allowed him to become well-published. A journey that’s been fueled by his genuine desire to provide faith, comfort and hope to those in grief.

His inspirational writings are illustrated with photography on a series of wall décor products beautifully designed by Reed Photo Art & Imaging Inc.

“If Not For You” is printed on metallic photographic paper and mounted on 8½’’ x 11’’ ⅜’’ inch thick pressboard with a UV protective laminate c/w a contemporary black bevelled edge. For additional information regarding its availability please click here.

Richard has also written It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later; an inspiring book about love, life and loss. The book includes beautifully illustrated artwork, uplifting quotes, inspiring parables and heartfelt short stories that honor the memory of those dear to our hearts.

A parable by definition is a symbolic short story that illustrates or teaches some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.

Richard trusts that his parables, along with the stories behind their creation will stir some emotions in you that we’ve all felt; emotions that cast a more encouraging and celebratory light not on a person’s death, but their life.

Richard invites you to follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @RichardLBelford, like his Author’s Facebook Page or visit the “It’s Not Goodbye, It’s See You Later Facebook Page” and join the increasing number of people who believe this book will inspire you to always say; I’ll see you later, instead of goodbye!”

He can be contacted by email at info@richardlawrencebelford.ca or visit his website at: www.richardlawrencebelford.ca for further information.

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