looking through me

Tag: memories

calendar alerts

Certain alerts on my calendar repeat every year—so I don’t forget—but they aren’t birthdays. They’re anniversaries of deaths. And when they pop up, a spectrum of emotions surges through me.

Sometimes they remind me of people I will never stop missing, and sometimes they remind me that people I love are awash in the residual waves of grief a year or two or seven or fifteen after the physical loss of someone deeply loved.

Dates matter. I was raised by parents who made remembering their engagement and wedding anniversaries monthly competitions. They wished my brothers and me “happy monthday” each and every month that wasn’t our actual birthday. And decades down the road, they still do.

Remembering matters. Celebrating matters. Grieving matters. Because loving matters.

So when an alert pops up for a death date on my calendar, I know it’s an opportunity to mail a note or make a phone call or send a text or email. But even when I stay silent and fail to reach out, I stare at the calendar and try again to wrap my thoughts around how life continues with heartrending voids.

And I realize what an honor it is to remember. What a privilege it is to speak presence into absence. What a gift it is to know and be known.

What a treasure it is to walk through joy and sorrow together every day . . . whether my calendar reminds me to or not.

 

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living in memories

I slid the egg into my coat pocket and headed out the door.

Its cold presence pricked my memory and reminded me of Grandpa taking hard-boiled eggs in his lunch when he worked as a church custodian. I pictured Grandma standing in front of the open refrigerator, hand hesitating in midair, a tiny smile curling the corners of her mouth before she grabbed an egg and placed it in Grandpa’s lunch pail.

I’m sure she grinned all morning in anticipation of the moment he’d be sitting on the couch, chatting with Max, unpacking his lunch. She knew he used the wooden piece on the top of the arm to crack his eggs. I wonder if she had more fun imagining his shock at cracking open a raw egg or him frantically trying to clean egg off the couch’s upholstery.

She never could tell the story without dissolving into laughter. It tickled her every time . . . it took a few years before it tickled Grandpa, though even in his exasperation he couldn’t help but smile and shake his head at the delight it brought her.

This morning I noticed my own smile as I reached for the egg in my pocket. It was hard boiled, but I cracked it in the break room and peeled it over the trash can anyway.

 

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