I answer the phone..

I answer the phone and
their memories spill out of the ether.

Its not enough to grieve but to remember together
what she was like or
what he said or
how forgiveness is as hard as the long dark night.

It has all changed us at a molecular level,
all those things we did,
things required
and unrequited.
How did we know to place our hands to that work,
how did we summon the courage to lift
and carry that weight-
the burden was great but not unwelcomed.
We rose each morning and put our hearts to the test-
until, weeping with the stars,
we lay just for a moment before we were called
again and again and again.

Love sustains and
will exceeds what we know and that which we cannot comprehend.
Those things that we were called to do changed our DNA
until suffering is no longer feared
and death seems somehow diminished
in the light of a gray autumn afternoon.

Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day at the Lake

I like a day set aside for remembering. It’s not as if I don’t think of those that are no longer with us on other days, but this day is singular – a Day of Remembrance.

Our families veterans include great-grand fathers, my Gresham grandfather, great uncles, uncles, cousins, my Dad and my husband. All served their country in wars and peace.

I have a friend whose family and community still gather at the cemetery for the day, to sweep away the leaves and debris from the graves. They visit and clean the headstones, replacing the faded flowers with fresh wreaths, plastic or silk flowers. If there are graves no longer visited, these are not forgotten, they are tended and swept and cleaned too as a grace to those that went before. Then the families will picnic on the grounds, tell stories and laugh as they remember.

This tradition speaks to me. There are times I wish our family had not spread out across the country and we could come together on a singular day to tell stories and clean gravestones, leaving fresh bouquets for our loved ones.

I like the idea of this renewal of ties to the dead. They are always with us and this morning I am remembering those that have gone before me: my grandparents, the Allens and the Greshams, my great grandmother, LaLocke, my beloved Dad, my great nephew, Gabriel, a beloved friend’s daughter, my husband’s father,Pop, Aunt Toni, Aunt Nonie, Uncle Marty and Aunt Carol. So many friends and loved ones to remember, tell their stories and with laughter and love, keep their memories alive.

And, today especially, we remember my beloved niece’s brother in law, Lance Corporal Phillip Vinnedge, killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

I leave flowers for them all.
wild roses