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Memories Bring Back You

My daughter Bailey was in the high school Class of 2020. Yep, you know the one. No graduation, no prom, none of the fun senior year finishers in 2020.

"Graduation" consisted of a live video feed which was a labor of love for those who put it together. Bailey and her two best friends curled up in their comfy clothes on my sofa and watched a montage of memories to a selection of songs. One of those was "Memories" by Maroon 5. Every time I hear it now, I am back on that sofa with those girls, missing the moments they should have been in cap and gown and walking across a stage.

The song is especially bittersweet for me because of that, but I find it in my head again this week for another tender reason. On October 23, 2022, we lost our friend Sarah. It is hard to believe she has been gone a year now. I so often think of her and want to call her, or think about the way she probably would have responded to something, or go to Souper Jenny and picture here there because it was the last place I saw her in this life.

Sarah was an admirer of high liturgical music, so she would probably have cringed to know that a Maroon 5 song is what is popping into my head as I think about her this week. But despite that, I keep thinking -

Here's to the ones that we got

Cheers to the wish you were here, but you're not

'Cause the drinks bring back all the memories

Of everything we've been through

Toast to the ones here today

Toast to the ones that we lost on the way

'Cause the drinks bring back all the memories

And the memories bring back, memories bring back you

A few weeks ago my friend Temple and I went to the lake. Part getaway, part grief. The last time I was at the lake with Temple was in 2016 and Sarah was with us too. They took me to the lake because I lost my dad in July that year. I could never have imagined that the next time I returned, even though it was some years later, Sarah would be gone as well.

This song pricks my heart for now numerous reasons, but I will let it do so this week. I'll think of the griefs of the last few years, the ones that have broken us, the ones that have changed us, the ones we've survived, the ones we've endured. Then I'll lift up a heart filled with gratitude for a friend whose life was too short although well lived. I'll think of a friend who remains in whom I find a deeper relationship beyond even what we had before because we shared a small circle with the one who is now gone.

I'll think of my daughter who is planning for another opportunity to graduate, who has been through some really tough things - not just Covid! - and somehow continues to grow and blossom despite those challenges.

I'll think of my dad since my visit to the lake and I'll say grace over his life and how much I loved him. And I'll be thankful for being here to reflect on these things with so much sadness but also so much love in my heart.

There's a time that I remember when I never felt so lost

When I felt all of the hatred was too powerful to stop

Now my heart feel like an ember and it's lighting up the dark

I'll carry these torches for you that you know I'll never drop, yeah

I'll hold my grief with both hands this week. And I'll carry a torch and light a candle for those broken places, honoring the impact of those I have loved and lost, and for those I still have the opportunity to sit with over lunch. The ones here today... the ones we've lost on the way... I can only hope in these ways that the memories bring back you.

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