I’m Sorry I Can’t Remember

I’m sorry I can’t remember.

You’re still adjusting to your loss, stewing in your anger, sitting with your grief. How could you not? The staircase gallery now a memorial. Weeks ago, the photos formed the foundation of lives to be lived, clips for a future montage—the graduation open house, the wedding, the records kept for children’s children.

I’m sorry I can’t remember.

It’s not that I don’t want to, although to be honest, I haven’t really tried all that hard. It’s just that there are so many of them. And life, as they say, goes on. We’re busy. We’re tired. We linger and listen just long enough to send positive vibes and negative memes. We argue over legislation while you sit in lamentation.

I’m sorry I can’t remember.

They say Parkland is the 18th school shooting in 2018. Eighteen for ’18. I’ll remember that slogan at least, staying informed enough to make conversation. I can recall Las Vegas, but wait, that was last fall. This year? Nothing else comes to mind.

I’m sorry.

I’m afraid we’re remembering all the wrong things: the predictable talking points, the divisive rhetoric. We remember well how to fire shots at each other—real live verbal ammo—before the body bags are completely zipped at the crime scene. As for the victims? They’ve faded along with the other details of when and where and how many.

I’m sorry I can’t remember what are likely the most important things of all. Real names and faces. Real stories of grief and loss. We’ve forgotten what it means to lament. We’ve skated over necessary emotions and called it normal. We’ve politicized and polarized, pushed and pulled. It’s not working.

Instead of allowing our reactions to take over, maybe we should sit in silence until a meaningful word surfaces in response. Maybe that’s our only way out of this—to temper our impulses, to ignore our busy-ness, to ignore the instincts. Maybe making your grief our own, choosing to feel for longer than a news segment, will lead us to a more centered posture—a place from which real, lasting answers can be spoken and meaningful change can take root.

Unity. Communion. Stories shared. Bodies offered in service to one another.

“Do this in remembrance of me.” Maybe that’s what it means.