Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gone but not forgotten

I have been thinking about a comment a friend made to me a couple of weeks ago about remembering someone who they loved who died and how they felt scared that the person would be forgotten. I didn't have any words to share with this person, however, it got me thinking about why we are afraid of being forgotten.

I guess that may be the reason why wings of hospitals, university buildings, street are named so as to serve as a physical reminders of their existence. Often made of concrete, they are designed to withstand the weathering of time. Is it the hope that a piece of cement will prove our existance. I must confess that I don't know. I do think that our lives are much more than concrete. I liked to believe that we will live on in our actions and in the daily gifts we leave behind.

This past week, Canadians collectively remembered Jack Layton. They did so in many ways - some public and some private. The transformation of Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto was an example of a personal public or the public personal. Canadians armed with a piece of chalk wrote expressed themselves. Their words rendered temporary by the limitations of chalk and erased by the elements, only to have new words follow the next day. A open poem of sorts and the creation of public art.

Our society holds deep the traditions to remember by marking the date. Perhaps the more meaningful expression is not the marking of the date but rather the daily remembrance of the person with a silent hello from our heart. I am not sure if these words will help my friend but it helps me remember all the people I love who have gone but not forgotten.

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