August 27, 2008
Today is my father’s birthday. He would have been 90 years old.
Memory is a faculty so effective, that I sometimes feel my father’s presence is physical and immediate. His exuberance for life fuels that memory. Augustine, in his Confessions, has a lengthy reflection on the power of remembrance, asserting that faith would not be possible without memory. Certainly, love and hope would not be possible without it either.
Shortly before his own death, Robert Penn Warren wrote a poem about his grandfather entitled "Reinterment, " pursuing this mysterious and elusive idea that memory keeps something alive. He fixed his concern not on his own impending end, but on the death all over again of his beloved grandfather, whose memory would not be held by any living being once Warren died.
I had a good visit with Mom tonight about Dad, reliving a few episodes and occasions, laughing a little. And sharing in the sadness of his loss.
My brother, Francis, said something in passing about grief several days ago that I’ve thought much about since: We don’t get over a death. We get used to it.