Daily Connector | Acknowledgement and Commemoration by Laurie Zimmerman

My father would insist that significant events be acknowledged and commemorated. His tributes were often simple. If we were on a trip, he would find a cupcake and a candle and noisemakers and sometimes hats. Everyone nearby who could gather did, and faces shining and smiling, we would sing happy birthday. His motivation, which was pure and joyful, was to say, “I see you and you mean something to me.”

I learned that desire to remember and memorialize. We are in the middle of this pandemic, so I don’t know yet the meaning of it and everything I’ll remember. I find I’m taking moments to remember other things. On Monday the 4th I sat in my breakfast nook, staring out the window at 12:24 PM and counted the 13 seconds of the Kent State shooting 50 years ago. I remembered my own experiences from that time and I looked up maps of the campus so that I could better understand what had happened. The Dispatch had an excellent series this past week.

I’ve been working on a project for 6 months that centers on photographs and letters (most from my family) from the late 19th century through the 1990s. I have audio and video tapes too. With these cues, I remember my own stories and I’m writing a 45-page not-a-book/sort-of-a-book. I am seeing people in new ways and with a growing fondness for them. I find I’m often experiencing the feeling, “I see you and you mean something to me.”

I am touched by the ways that people have found to acknowledge graduating seniors. Our own son appears to be taking the cancellation of 6 or 7 of his significant senior high school events and college entrance activities with admirable equanimity. It’s important, though, that we see him at this moment and tell him he means something to us.

This morning’s Dispatch published a beautiful NY Times story, "The Morgue Worker, the Body Bags and the Daffodils” about a forensic technician in New Jersey who buys yellow flowers to place on body bags each day that are making the lonely trip from the hospital to funeral home. She says she does this to fight her sadness and because it’s the right thing to do.

Love to all of you.