“Do they grow stones here, daddy?”’
This question from my daughter in stiff black dress and red canvas shoes. She points across the field as she looks up at me with her mother’s bright green eyes. I follow her hand but see only gravestones. She has her mother’s imagination.
I bend to retie one incongruous red shoe and remember this morning in her bedroom, standing in a soft pool of sunlight, talcum powder, and cotton. She silently accepts the dress slipped over raised arms. Little fingers work buttons, big fingers work laces. She accepts the dress as I accept the shoes, quietly, without remark, neither of us wanting to disturb the increasing silence of our home.
Her mother wore red shoes as we folded into each other in a field like this, warm sun and youthful passion dissolving clothes, grasses joining us in embrace.
“Why do we remember, daddy?”
I smell earth and carefully tended grass. Why do we remember? Do we remember to deny the hours passing since powerless hospital men covered the world with a sheet? Are these litanies of rote remembrance for the departed? Ourselves? For whom?
Endlessly we walk the same paths until remembrance, rutted and worn, no longer stirs the heart, and feet stumble free.
“Come on daddy. Everybody’s waiting. We have to remember mommy.” Her face puzzles at my tears, then those bright eyes, her mother’s eyes, have the answer. “It’s okay daddy. I know why we remember.
So we won’t forget.