To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.

–Mary Oliver (American Primitive, 1983)

I have a complicated feeling about remembrance. I can wallow in candle-lighting and song singing and memorials, and that perfect quote just like anyone else. But there is a small part of me, always a little apart, wondering what meaning it can have to write names on a plaque, or set up a stone, or light a candle. But maybe it’s because I fear the “holding it against your bones” part of love. Does it count as “letting it go” if you’ve never held it close?

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