Monday, May 27, 2013

52 Poems to Adam: "Let Me Remember"

Today is Memorial Day, a day of remembrance, which covers so much territory. Therefore, this is a post in three parts, but every part hearkens back to this special day.

Part 1: Primarily it's a day to honor those men and women in the military who gave their lives for our freedoms. It's so easy to overlook these sacrifices, take them for granted. And we shouldn't. Dying for a cause greater than us is one of the noblest sacrifices a human being can make, one of the greatest acts of love. It reminds me of that song from the movie Les Miserables: "To love another person is to see the face of God."

This poem was written by Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae during World War I. It is a beautiful benediction to fallen warriors everywhere, in every era of the world:

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scare heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

Part 2: As some of you know, I ran my own special 10k today, in memory of Adam who loved to run. I'm seriously thinking about getting around to running a marathon one day, pretty much because it's something he wanted and never got the opportunity to do.

Anyhow, I ran from my house down to Redwood Cemetery where Adam's buried, which—providentially—happens to be about 6.5 miles. It was a great run and I spent the run listening to some of his favorite music.

Part 3: Today is also a day to tell those who left us—or maybe just to tell ourselves—that we haven't forgotten, will never forget, them. After losing somebody, I think the hardest part is the fear that you'll forget his face, the way his eyes gleamed when he thought something was funny, the sound of his laughter. I think the great fear is living a long life without that person with memory fading a little every day. Even the acute pain is preferable to the awful idea of a dimming past. So I wrote this week's poem with today in mind, for all it means, for the possibility of holding that person—not the image of his face—in your heart as a way to preserve them in this life.

Let Me Remember

Will I still always remember you
As clearly as I do today
Your hair
The way you always combed it
The way they combed it
That last time

Will I still always remember you
Your eyes
Sparkling with mirth
Fairly snapping with life
With light
With goodness
True and steady and soul deep

Will I always remember
As clearly as I do today
At this moment
—gut wrenching and still so beautiful—
Your precious face
Its planes and angles
Always animated
Never still
With laughter and smiles
And that intangible essence
That's you
Only you

Please let me remember
Always down to my soul
Your every mannerism
And quirk
Let them lay side by side
A lifetime of memories of you

Let me remember
And never forget

Cierra, Allison, Karen, Stacee, Megan, Brandon, Jeffrey, Marc


  1. I think you have the ability to remember even better than most because you have such an amazing gift for capturing images and memories with words.

  2. I love your poems Ali, you have a gift for poetry.
    Love Mom