Memorial Day Memories

photos of my parents in the 1940s
In Memory

I found myself
wondering why my parents
haven’t phoned, today

I’m caught up short, remembering
they’re on Heaven’s direct line

Copyright © 2019-05-27, Memorial Day, by Lizl Bennefeld.

Memorial Day was “our” family holiday. It’s now my remembering. After my parents were discharged, they returned to Father’s home town to realize their life’s long-held dream of raising lots of children, together. (Eventually, there were nine of us, seven living into adulthood.) My father was groundskeeper (one of many jobs) and then the sexton, of the village cemetery, and we children, while growing up, worked with him to get the grounds ready for the Memorial Day observances. Mother was in the Navy, and Father was in the Army, separated overseas, but both serving in the Pacific Theater. (In uniform).

Waiting for the silence

So many names, so many faces I no longer remember, voices muted by the overwhelming years. I threw away their letters. Burned their photographs. Drowned grief in nights of walking…days at the piano, my hands exhausted, my fingers worn. All is gone but for faded memories of having known.

no pretense… no dress rehearsal
letting go doesn’t get easier

familiar footsteps approach
pass by without a pause

Copyright© 2018-08-11, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.

 

July 26: A pair of poems

the squirrels in the back yard at winter
At Home

“i did not want to trouble her”

i would not trouble her
with present reality
the look behind her eyes, knowing
that she did not know,
worrying what she’d once again forgotten
that should always have been remembered

i’d said good-bye a month ago,
then left her undisturbed–
living cherished, not alone
in the simple “now”

i could not trouble her,
insert myself…

let her long-feared flaws and failures
drift by unnoticed
to the end of the beginning
of eternal life
together once again with her mother
and her beloved father
those she never, through it all, forgot

Copyright © 2017-07-26, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.

 

if I do not remember

if I cannot remember you…
my love, let me go

let me not remember either
all the rest
or, fearful, fret
at what i’ve lost
that leaves me with such
emptiness

losing you
losing the clear, sweet memories of you
i’ve lost everything

let go the empty shell

“if I do not remember”. Copyright © 2017-07-26, by Elizabeth W. Bennefeld.

These poems, although I posted the second one today on my poetry blog, belong together. Remembering is a way, I think, to let go of grief by understanding the loss. In this case, the loss of my parents, this last winter.