Sunday, June 23, 2013

How Do You Remember Those Who Are Gone?

“All that we know about those we have loved and lost is that they would wish us to remember them with a more intensified realization of their reality. What is essential does not die but clarifies. The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude.” 

... Thornton Wilder


Oh my goodness.... yes! That's exactly how I feel. 

So imagine my confusion each time friends set themselves up to yearly mourn their loved one's passing date or birthday. You know, actually making plans to sadly sit at home with lots of kleenex or beside a tombstone, grieving, crying, feeling, experiencing the loss all over again. Year after year, decade after decade.

Well, both Thornton and I don't get that. We believe it's better to live a person's good example rather than cry about it.

And we also believe those anniversaries could be spent with a joyous splashing around within a deeper, 'more intensified and clarified realization of that loved one's reality'. With lots and lots of gratitude that we even were blessed enough to know these people, Life being all hit-and-miss as it can be sometimes.

I'm thinking along these lines probably because yesterday would have been the 81st birthday of Loana Gakle, my high school gym teacher who I wrote about here when she passed away in February of 2009. And although I did feel a moment of sadness that her daughter and her family could no longer share this happy day with their mother, still, I gave thanks that in my travels upon this planet--in my living in three states on two coasts--I was blessed that my path had crossed Loana's. And even now all these 35 years away from that initial meeting, I'm still reaping good things from having known her happy spirit which inspires me when I'm tempted to turn cranky and look on the dark side since that's easier.

Anybody can turn all cranky. It requires nothing special.

Loana's being remembered by everyone as a joyful light still shines upon me all these years after her passing, inspiring me that, yes, it is possible to live that way... to spread a kind of joy-filled example of living which stretches way beyond one's own life. An example never forgotten no matter how many years may interfere or separate us.


My favorite Thornton Wilder quote:

"I can't. I can't go on. It goes so fast. We don't have time to look at one another. I didn't realize. So all that was going on and we never noticed. Take me back — up the hill — to my grave. 

But first: Wait! One more look. Good-by, Good-by, world. Good-by Grover's Corners...Mama and Papa. Good-by to clocks ticking...and Mama's sunflowers. And food and coffee. And new ironed dresses and hot baths...and sleeping and waking up. Oh, earth, you're too wonderful for anybody to realize you. ...Do human beings ever realize life while they live it? — Every, every minute? ...I'm ready to go back...I should have listened to you. That's all human beings are! Just blind people."  

... From the play, Our Town


Find more Thornton Wilder quotes here.

"Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope."  ... 1 Thessalonians 4:13

"And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful."   ... Colossians 3:15

1 comment:

Judy said...

Oh how I DO LOVE Thornton Wilder.
Have you ever read his play about a dining room table? The title eludes me now, but it's something like The Dining Room. It follows decades of a holiday dinner at a table. It certainly does put the shortness of time into perspective. But in a GOOD way.