Faded Remembrance

in remembrance
in remembrance
I walked out among the poppies one May morning, noticing how beautifully the red poppies mixed with the purple larkspur. This time of year with the red poppies blooming and Memorial Day approaching, I’m always reminded Moina Michaels’ response to “Flanders Field” –


never to reconcile
never to reconcile
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.


after the dance
after the dance
The last few years my family has faced what has seemed to be an unending line of sudden shocking deaths. Just when it seems that we are able to breathe again, another loved one is called home. Not all heroes in the conventional sense of the word, but still heroes in their own way and each one a hero to us.

On this rainy morning, I recalled those loved ones and tried to remember some special quality of each one. It soon became apparent that the recently departed were remembered by more tangible characteristics. I could picture their faces, hear the sound of their voices, sharply and crisply. While those more distant, it was just an essence – a color, smell, beliefs, the part of me that was shaped by that person. I instantly think of my grandmother with the smell of freshly pressed powder but cannot remember the sound of her voice. Despite all the protestations we make at the edge of the grave, our loved ones gradually fade from our memory. We never forget them, but the sharp edges of remembrances being over time to fray. And with that understanding, the Faded Remembrance series was born.


a remembrance
a remembrance
A very few of my family have been fortunate to die at home peacefully after having lived their long lives. We die in service to others, helping out a neighbor, at work and sometimes at play. We die in our boots on the field. Sometimes we are ripped violently away from this earth. Other times we just slip away from life. And it is our responsibility for those of us remaining to remember and keep faith, no matter how bruised our memories may be. And through all time we can be seen in the poppies.


fading remembrance
fading remembrance
The losses my own generation has suffered have been tragic, leaving holes in my heart which will be never filled. In the last few years, far too many have been lost to accidents, battlefields, neglect, disease. Following one after the other, those of us left behind just try to fumble through each day. The last six years for me personally have been just a blur. But I remember a survivor of the Holocaust say that you just stay alive until you are able to live again. That is the message of the poppies. The wound of loss never goes away but scabs and scars develop, the sharp edges do fade, and we are able to remember the essence of happiness.