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Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Responsibility to Remember

The Responsibility to Remember

A while back I wrote a post about my neighborhood book club, and how we discussed the topic of everlasting life.  One of the things we concluded was that we live on in the lives of our loved ones.  I told you in that post, that it made me think of my Aunt Marie, my mom's sister who died very young.  I feel we have an obligation to share with the next generation, the stories of the family and friends who have populated our lives, the people who we hold dear, the ones who need to be remembered.  And so, this post is dedicated to my Aunt Marie.  I write of her because I want my children to know her, to know she was special to the people in her life.  She played a big role in my growing up, even though I never met her.  Her memory was very much alive in my family.

I've decided to share my aunt's story in a poem I wrote for her.  As a retired person (YAY!!) I am pursuing some of the things I love to do but never had the time, and one of those things is writing.  To that end, I joined a poetry group at the Senior Center and have met some very wonderful people.  The group is led by a very capable and inspiring poet who is very gracious in sharing her expertise and in encouraging us to write (more about this group in a later post). The following is one of the poem's I wrote for this poetry seminar:

Dear Aunt Marie

I never met you, 
Yet I know you well.

I know of your gentle spirit,
That so washed over a family
It left them lost and wailing
In the cold hospital corridor
When they heard the news
You were gone.

I know of the fierce love you inspired.
Of the mother who carried
You for blocks to see the latest picture show.
How she endured the scorn of passers-by,
Who spat their disapproval such a big girl,
Wouldn't walk.

I know of your unwavering faith,
Revealed in posies written to the Lord,
In pretty prayers beseeching saints,
In dozens of parochial girls
Who wept beside your coffin,
Knowing an angel was born.

I never met you,
Yet I know you well.

I see you in the sprinkle of freckles
On my sister's face,
In the eyes that blink back at me
From the mirror,
In the family line of sweet-hearted girls.

I see you in the cherished vase
That once belonged to you,
In the tender way it is handled,
For the precious story it can tell.

I never met you,
I know you well.


This Roseville vase was given to my aunt Marie when she was confined to bed after complications as a result of measles.  Her Aunt Thelma gave it to her and it was originally filled with a bouquet of Tootsie Roll Pops.  After her death the vase became the symbol of Marie's sweetness and goodness and became a cherished family heirloom.