Words of Hope – Memorial Day

I am feeling afraid to remember. What if I struggle to remember? What if I don’t want to think of all the white crosses and the families with an empty place at the table? I don’t want to think about my friend Mat who worked with us at NBC Camps bending down to kiss his chubby cheeked two-year-old son who he will never see turn three, or sixteen, or twenty-five.  

My daughter has been glum all day. She is staring at the water that has collected pollen along the edges. I rub her back and ask what is wrong. She turns to me in surprise. “Today was Papa’s COL,” she says.

How do I tell her I remember every time I see the chair where dad should be sitting, the house that should be inhabited, the spot on my phone that says Papa that is still among my favorites? My bones and heart remember, and the pain is both a sting and a heavy weight.  

I go down the list in my phone to write a message of gratitude on behalf of my dad thanking people for coming a year ago to his COL and end after contacts who start with the letter B. I sit and read a book instead. I know Dad had to “remember” sometimes this way, by doing something that diverts attention from the memory.  

Remembering requires energy, love, hope, and sometimes it is good to remember that grief is a long and winding road that can’t be navigated alone. 

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7