Yesterday, I visited my mother’s grave. It was the first time in 20 years. She died 45 years ago. I may sound like an unfeeling daughter, but my mother hated all the rituals surrounding death. There was no funeral (she was buried by cemetery staff); we had a memorial service instead. Because of that, I never felt a pull to visit her grave as she didn’t really want us to remember her that way. So why did I go. I’m not sure, but I think it has something to do with all the uncertainty about our future. I also visited other family graves at cemeteries in Louisville and Lincoln. Rather than feeling sad, I felt a link to those gone before (sometimes way before). I found two sets of great grandparents’ graves. In these uncertain times, I found it comforting to see the continuity of place that I am privileged to have. As our future is so uncertain at this time, it is comforting to look to the past.

This morning, I went for my walk and I let Spotify choose my playlist. Spotify was eerily prescient as the songs all seem to center around memories, loss, uncertain futures. Here’s a selection of lines that (seared, invaded, ????) my airpods. Click the titles to listen to the entire songs.

Try to Remember

Josh Groban

…Deep in December it’s nice to remember
Although you know the snow will follow.
Deep in December it’s nice to remember
Without a hurt the heart is hollow.
Deep in December it’s nice to remember
The fire of September that made you mellow.
Deep in December our hearts should remember then follow.

Then follow

Old Friends

Simon and Garfunckle

..Can you imagine us years from today,
Sharing a park bench quietly
How terribly strange to be seventy

Old friends, memory brushes the same years,
Silently sharing the same fears


Eleanor Rigby

The Beatles

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby
Picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window
Wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?


Blowin’ in the Wind

Joan Baez

…How many years must some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?
And how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind

…And how many deaths will it take ’til he knows
That too many people have died?
The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind
The answer is blowing in the wind


Big Yellow Taxi

Joni Mitchell

…They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot spot
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
‘Til it’s gone
They paved paradise
Put up a parking lot


The Leaves That Are Green

Simon & Garfunkel

…I threw a pebble in a brook
And watched the ripples run away

And they never made a sound
And the leaves that are green
Turn to brown
And they wither with the wind
And they crumble in your hand
Hello, hello, hello, hello
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, goodbye

That’s all there is
And the leaves that are green
Turn to brown

I Can’t Help but Wonder Where I’m Bound

Johnny Cash

…I’ve been wanderin’ through this land just doin’ the best I can
Tryin’ to find what I was meant to do
And the people that I see look as worried as can be
And it looks like they are wonderin’ too

And I can’t help but wonder
Where I’m bound, where I’m bound
Can’t help but wonder where I’m bound


Can you see how Spotify (or perhaps the universe) was sending me a message this cloudy, quiet morning. Contemplate…Remember…Appreciate!

My mother was a high school art teacher and the year she died, the students honored her with a picture and poem in their yearbook:

Nothing Gold Can Stay


Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

On this Memorial Day, pause to remember…whatever it is you need to remember.