OUT OF LEFT FIELD: A new (for me) and very personal take on Remembrance
It’s Remembrance Day.
For me, that’s always been a sad, solemn day.
But this year, everything has changed, for me, as I have this year lost people who completely deserve wreaths at the Cenotaph in their honour. Before this year, I remembered ideas, not real people.
This year, I’m remembering people I knew and loved.
And not one of them would feel honoured by me remembering them with sadness – in fact, it would make them sad to think of it. And they were happy, fun-loving, gregarious, outgoing, sometimes-nutty-but-never-boring people. It’s just not what they would want.
I think they’d like me, today, to remember them with profound gratitude.
I think they’d like me to really enjoy the water that comes out of my taps, the food in my fridge, and my teenager’s freedom to hassle his mother to his heart’s content.
I think they’d like me to appreciate even the ugliest public conflict at work today – because without them, we wouldn’t be allowed to speak at all. That we get to go hammer-and-tongs at each other may not be appealing, but it’s something we should so totally appreciate, given how few people in world enjoy the same privilege.
I think they’d feel loved and remembered if I told stories about them that make others laugh, and maybe made us all think about issues a little, in a caring way.
I think they would be best honoured if I spend today in joyous celebration of everything I have, and everything they protected for me, and mine, and you, and yours. I know, deep in my soul, that that would make them so, so much happier than seeing us sobbing into our collective soup.
I won’t promise I won’t shed a tear – everyone we’ve lost is a great and terrible loss, and I’m not indifferent to that – but I also promise to laugh a lot, hug my kid more than usual, call up family and friends to let them know how much I value them, talk to you guys as my friends and fellow community members, no matter our differences.
If you think this means I’m not taking the day seriously, think again – both of my grandmothers were WW II Air Force veterans, in a time when women were supposed to stay home, sew curtains, and shut up. My best friend died, in my opinion, in the line of duty. I take this very seriously.
Which is exactly why I can’t be too serious today – they’d hate that. They’d just hate it. They would want me, and mine, and you, and yours, to laugh, play and revel in a deep and abiding gratitude for the world we live in, and the freedoms we enjoy.
I know for-sure that’s the legacy they’d value.
So, I won’t observe Remembrance Day this year, as I always have in the past. This time, I will celebrate it. I hope you do, too.
Signed with love, respect, and camaraderie,