Memorial Day, a day for remembering the passing of loved ones and of those who fought in battles–who died not knowing and perhaps not caring about the fighting’s outcome. I find it hard to move past the significance of the day to talk about publishing or writing careers. Instead, my mind and heart turn to those who have gone before us.
Emily Dickinson wrote this tribute to those we miss:
If anybody’s friend be dead,
It ‘s sharpest of the theme
The thinking how they walked alive,
At such and such a time.
Their costume, of a Sunday,
Some manner of the hair, —
A prank nobody knew but them,
Lost, in the sepulchre.
How warm they were on such a day:
You almost feel the date,
So short way off it seems; and now,
They ‘re centuries from that.
How pleased they were at what you said;
You try to touch the smile,
And dip your fingers in the frost:
When was it, can you tell,
You asked the company to tea,
Acquaintance, just a few,
And chatted close with this grand thing
That don’t remember you?
Past bows and invitations,
Past interview, and vow,
Past what ourselves can estimate, —
That makes the quick of woe!
And so we remember.
What will you do today to remember?
What a beautiful poem, thank you for sharing.
Over now to Andre Zirnheld (KIA in Libya in July, 1942 whilst serving with the SAS)
I’m asking You God, to give me what You have left.
Give me those things that others never ask of You.
I don’t ask You for rest, or tranquillity.
Not that of the spirit, the body, or the mind.
I don’t ask You for wealth, or success, or even health.
All those things are asked of You so much Lord,
that you can’t have any left to give.
Give me instead Lord what You have left.
Give me what others don’t want.
I want uncertainty and doubt.
I want torment and battle.
And I ask that You give them to me now and forever Lord,
so I can be sure to always have them,
because I won’t always have the strength to ask again.
But give me also the courage, the energy,
and the spirit to face them.
I ask You these things Lord, because I can’t ask them of myself.
That’s such a powerful prayer, Andrew. Thank you for sharing it.
Kristen Joy Wilks
We took my Grandpa to the cemetery (with masks on of course) and put flowers on family graves. Quite honestly, I know that my dad would laugh at us if he knew we were putting flowers on his grave, but it is an important ceremony for my grandfather and at 102, we only have so many of these days left to remember together.
That’s such an important marker for your grandfather, Kristen. When we have lost loved ones, it’s imperative that we do what comforts us. That person is truly gone, and so it doesn’t matter if the individual was allergic to the flowers you put on the grave. If you love those flowers, then they have special meaning for you. And you’ll always have the memory of being with your grandfather for those graveside ceremonies.
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