This is how to remember: square your shoulders, tell the truth. Face it bravely. Ask hard questions. Ask lots of questions, why and how and who, what if. Listen to the stories. Put yourself in that position, ask yourself, what would I do? How would I feel?
This is how to remember: not just one day, but every day. Who hasn’t lost? Who hasn’t grieved? The world cries out with broken voices. Someone somewhere is suffering every moment. Let your memory grow larger, let it expand and fill with other sorrows. Look around you, really see.
This is how to remember: with empathy, with love. Go ahead and cry and yell. It’s awful and broken. Don’t sanitize it, justify it, rationalize. Remember names. Remember faces. Let it be personal. Remember not just the lost and the broken, but remember, too, the heroes and saints, the grace, how much worse it might have been. And then go back a little further, behind the awful day, back to the last good day.
This is how to remember. Remember small things, good things. For every soul who died, a thousand sunny days, a thousand laughs. Remember kindness, beauty, joy. Refuse to remember only darkness; remember light. Remember hope.
Go back further, back and back. Remember what Love looks like. It isn’t pretty, but it’s real. Love that refused to look away, Love that squared its shoulders, waded in brave. Remember what Love gave up. So much bigger than morality and ethics and therapy, Love walked in with tired feet, merry eyes, and nerves of steel. Love faced down death and hell, bled and died and conquered.
If there is no Love, no Christ, no cross, then no amount of remembering can stand against the awful, no hope can hold out in this dark. But Love, the kind of Love that lays down life? It tells a different story, gives a reason to fight. Darkness may spit out fumes of hate and fury, but that’s just the last gasp of a wounded dragon going down. Where, o death, is your sting?
This is how to remember: lay on your back and look up at the stars, so many pinpricks in the curtain. Behind that curtain, a light is shining, brighter than a thousand suns. Give thanks, hold on. Dawn is just around the corner.