Let Me Remember

Today is Memorial Day, a day of remembrance, which covers so much territory. Therefore, this is a post in three parts, but every part hearkens back to this special day.

Part 1: Primarily it’s a day to honor those men and women in the military who gave their lives for our freedoms. It’s so easy to overlook these sacrifices, take them for granted. And we shouldn’t. Dying for a cause greater than us is one of the noblest sacrifices a human being can make, one of the greatest acts of love. It reminds me of that song from the movie Les Miserables: “To love another person is to see the face of God.”

This poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae during World War I. It is a beautiful benediction to fallen warriors everywhere, in every era of the world:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scare heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.

Part 2: As some of you know, I ran my own special 10k today, in memory of Adam who loved to run. I’m seriously thinking about getting around to running a marathon one day, pretty much because it’s something he wanted and never got the opportunity to do.

Anyhow, I ran from my house down to Redwood Cemetery where Adam’s buried, which—providentially—happens to be about 6.5 miles. It was a great run and I spent the run listening to some of his favorite music.

Part 3: Today is also a day to tell those who left us—or maybe just to tell ourselves—that we haven’t forgotten, will never forget, them. After losing somebody, I think the hardest part is the fear that you’ll forget his face, the way his eyes gleamed when he thought something was funny, the sound of his laughter. I think the great fear is living a long life without that person with memory fading a little every day. Even the acute pain is preferable to the awful idea of a dimming past. So I wrote this week’s poem with today in mind, for all it means, for the possibility of holding that person—not the image of his face—in your heart as a way to preserve them in this life.

adam

Let Me Remember

Will I still always remember you

As clearly as I do today

Your hair

The way you always combed it

The way they combed it

That last time

Will I still always remember you

Your eyes

Sparkling with mirth

Humor

Fairly snapping with life

With light

With goodness

True and steady and soul deep

Will I always remember

As clearly as I do today

At this moment

—gut wrenching and still so beautiful—

Your precious face

Its planes and angles

Always animated

Never still

With laughter and smiles

And that intangible essence

That’s you

Only you

Please let me remember

Always down to my soul

You

Your every mannerism

And quirk

Let them lay side by side

A lifetime of memories of you

Let me remember

And never forget

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