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Together, they overcome loss

Everyone has a collection of items that hold a special place in their heart. The small collection of porcelain figurines that adorn the living room, a unique collection of stuffed animals laid across the bed with care or an extensive collection of baseball cards carefully filed in leather booklets.

Sometimes these collections are more personal -- photo albums and other containers of countless memories. My personal collection consists of numerous CDs. What would happen is these things were to suddenly disappear? They could be stolen, swept away by a flood, blown away by a tornado or consumed by a fire. What is left when those possessions and those vessels of remembrance are taken without notice? There is no choice but to move on.

No one can experience such a loss and not grieve. No amount of strength can keep the tears at bay. I have not experienced such a loss, but I have helped those who have. I have always admired their strength to begin a new life.

A fire recently took such possessions from a close friend of mine. She came home one afternoon to find smoke bellowing from the windows of her home. Some things could be salvaged from the flame-ravaged home, but some

of her collections of memories were lost, but her family did not give in to the loss. They persevered. They stood strong together. Their love helped them survive.

I cannot sing enough praise of that family and their courage. I opt not to mention their name out of respect, but they know of whom I speak. The love you share gives me hope for the future of our world. Thank you for your strength.

Some photographs are now ashes, but a grand future full of love and happiness awaits them. I am sure they will find countless opportunities to fill photo albums with smiling faces and laughter.

They will always have their hearts and minds to make note of the past. No amount of rain, wind or fire can take away the keepsakes locked in our hearts. It may sound a but sappy to some, but everyone knows these words hold truth. I am sure you can close your eyes and think about one moment that brings a smile to your face.

I cannot say what my life would if I lost everything I have collected in my lifetime. Yearbooks, photo albums, poems and clothes. It would take some time to choke down the loss.

I can only hope to have the love and companionship of my family to pull me through the pain. I am sure we could find new memories to line our walls.