I Remember Too

Earlier this week, I shared about Ash Wednesday, a year ago…some time I spent by the Roberts Forest fire pit, praying, crying, playing guitar.

What I didn’t say then was that a song, in honor of my Mom, poured out of me that night. The whole thing took shape in about 20 minutes. I pulled out my phone and got down a first-version. But the words/feelings were too raw. I couldn’t really even sing it through without breaking down.

For year, I’ve lived with that version; a year later seems like a good time to come back to it. So, after I wrote my Ash Wednesday reflection this week, I also got down this video.

I played the song during “Coffee on the Porch,” and several folks said it was helpful. Maybe it will be for you too.
I honestly only wrote it for me…to honor my Mom, to honor the idea of “memory.” But that’s the beauty of art (and/or autobiographical theology… which is much the same thing as art, actually) can help others too.

As you might recall, “remembering” was the issue most prescient in our minds on that Ash Wednesday night. We didn’t know what else was wrong yet, but we knew Mom had lost lots of weight and spectacularly failed two congnitive tests.

Something was very wrong. As I say in the song, she knew us, “but didn’t know the day…” The sadness over her inability to remember things was hitting me hard that night.

Ash Wednesday is also about our memory: “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

As I said the other day, a year ago it was the existential truth of this line, not the church ritual, that hit me hard. And that’s the way it works, of course.

So all these kinds of memory and remembering —Mom’s, mine, Ash Wednesday’s— were all floating around.

Frederick Buechner has also written beautiful about “Remembering.” He say this:

“When you remember me, it means that you have carried something of who I am with you, that I have left some mark of who I am on who you are. It means that you can summon me back to your mind even though countless years and miles may stand between us. It means that if we meet again, you will know me. It means that even after I die, you can still see my face and hear my voice and speak to me in your heart.

For as long as you remember me, I am never entirely lost. When I’m feeling most ghost-like, it’s your remembering me that helps remind me that I actually exist. When I’m feeling sad, it’s my consolation. When I’m feeling happy, it’s part of why I feel that way.

If you forget me, one of the ways I remember who I am will be gone. If you forget me, part of who I am will be gone.

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” the good thief said from his cross (Luke 23:42). There are perhaps no more human words in all of Scripture, no prayer we can pray so well.”

— Frederick Buechner

I also had these very words in my heart that last Ash Wednesday, as the song spilled out.

And… “I remember too.”

Remember when you told that you’d love me to the moon.
Remember when you cleaned my lip, with a tiny spoon.
Remember when you picked me up when my knee scraped the ground.
Remember when you held me tight when friends could not be found.

Well I remember too.
Every single little “I love you.”

Remember when that college girl stomped on my poor heart.
Remember when you told me I should always work my art.
Remember when you smiled the day I finally found true love.
Remember when your granddaughter was your gift from above.

Well I remember too.
Every single little “I love you.”

Remember when remembering just slowly slipped away.
Remember when you knew my face but didn’t know the day.
Remember that I’ll say this you, til the final end.
And remember if you lose the words, I’ll say them once again.

I remember too.
Every single little “I love you.”

Words and Music: © eric Folkerth. All rights reserved.

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