Sunday, May 24, 2009


Memorial: anything meant to help people remember

In the US we celebrate Memorial Day, set aside for the dead from all of our wars, with remembrance and barbeques. I will enjoy both and envision a world at peace.

On Memorial Day my grandmother cut all the flowers in our yard. She filled the back of the car with them and the scent of peonies and lilacs. We’d drive out of town, down the country road, past the country club and into the Rockville Cemetery.

We left bouquets on the graves of generations of Bouics, Peters, Vinsons and Evans’s while she told me things about them I’ve long forgotten.

Headstones for my father, aunts, uncles, cousins and some of my mothers ashes mark their lives and their passing there now too.

I remember my grandmother’s love. How hard her life was. How she worked to make things better for everyone she knew. I honor her and thank her for raising me, though I did not then.

My father was a gentle man and a violent alcoholic. He lived most of his life alone, especially after he finally stayed sober for a few years before he died. I hardly knew him.

In the only real conversation we had as adults I learned he had been a Dachau Liberator in WWII. He told me about prisoners killing guards and his fellow GI’s laughing and cheering. He understood the prisoners, he said, but not his buddies. I remember and honor him and his service. I’m thankful for that story. It helped me to understand him and something about myself.

I remember the smell of peonies and lilacs, a reminder to be happy and to thank the people whose contributions fill my life with love—while they are still alive.

Thank you for being someone I can share these thoughts with.