Do you have to let it linger?

April 23, 2009 | By | Add a Comment

forest-road-in-fallI went jogging the other day in the town I grew up in. After climbing a steep hill for about a mile, I enjoyed coasting down toward the finish.

As I approached a certain spot, I was curious to see what I might find there. I figured the bag of balls wouldn’t be there anymore, but perhaps his brother’s heart-wrenching farewell letter was still taped to the pole. If that was gone, maybe there would be a little cross or remnants of flowers. Perhaps there would be a special marking somewhere. I was looking for anything, really.

I wonder why I was searching for something so badly. Some events happened so long ago, they starts to feel like they never happened. If something seems like it never happened, it seems to lose its meaning and significance. If everything is forgotten, what difference does anything make? I wanted something to validate his existence and my experience. When memory dies, does meaning die as well? Still, some things are almost too painful to remember. I’m not even thinking about bad memories. I’m thinking about good ones. Something that was once so precious and fresh and wonderful and full of life is gone. How can you recover from that type of loss?

I think I have a better idea why people put flowers next to graves. Something so horrible needs to be matched with something beautiful. Life needs to be placed next to death. The fragile petals are a reminder to savor every moment. An aroma lingers, long after what caused the scent is gone.

“On July 28, 1997, Kenneth Parker, 17, of New Boston, was killed at 12:50 a.m. when the car he was riding in hit a utility pole in Goffstown.” – Archives, The Boston Globe

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