Death and Meatballs.

Meatballs.

We were talking about meatballs.

And like a flash, I was sixteen again, and my Nana had surprised me with a pot of meatballs for my nineteenth birthday - all for me. My brother, my parents, my cousins, my aunts and uncles - nobody was allowed to eat the meatballs.

It seems silly to be talking about something like this, but it made me happy. The memory that surfaced from a conversation with my Schuyler about dinner turned into memories of meatballs. 

And it made me feel better.

See, there's been too many people I know who've lost loved ones way too young recently.

Brothers, husbands, fathers, friends - all gone before their 50th birthday.

My family lost our Ricky.

My friend Nicole from college lost her brother.

My colleague Adrianna lost her best friend from childhood.

My colleague Sarah lost the love of her life.

All of these people were under the age of 50. 

And I can't help but think - how do we keep their memories alive? Yes, their bodies aren't here...but that doesn't mean that we forget about what they meant to us, does it?

That doesn't mean we stop talking about them, does it?

It can't.

I won't let it.

My grandmother died in 2006 - that's over ten years ago.

And we still talk about her.

It comes in bits and pieces - a Christmas tradition, a picture, a story that has stuck to my fathers bones like glue.

But that's what remains of a life well lived - bits and pieces that stick to the ones that we love like glue.

The memories come and go, like waves that crash amongst the shore.

But just as the waves are a constant, so are the memories.

So how do we keep the memories of those we love alive?

In tiny conversations as you're deciding what to watch on Netflix. In the holiday meals that fill your bellies. In the celebration of new milestones, knowing that they would be proud. Knowing that they would love the joy of it all. It happens the wee hours of the night when you find yourself talking to the dark - knowing that he or she will hear you, wherever they may be.

Words string us along in this life, and words keep us around after we've left this earth.