I was trying to write something about this, but the words could not capture the shiver I get inside, the incipient tears trembling on the verge of falling when I say these words:
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.” ~ Laurence Binyon
Although those words were written back in 1914, specifically about WW1, they mean more to me than that. For over a decade, as my first employment, I worked with the Defence Department. I worked alongside friends and colleagues who might one day be encapsulated by those words. I remember the worry that I felt at the thought someone I knew might have to go to war, and that stays with me to this day. I have a stepson in the Navy, and I worry quietly, for his wife, for his son, for his mother and his sisters, for myself, but mostly for him. I want him to grow old, I want us all to grow old.
I try to imagine what it must have been like for those who did not get a chance to grow old, but I cannot. I try to imagine what it must have been like for their loved ones who got that news, and I do somewhat as my husband died at 42, but he died surrounded by those he loved, not far away amidst a war. I live in a country that is not at war. I cannot imagine the suffering that they endured, that others still endure now in many, many parts of the world.
All I can do is repeat those words, with compassion, with honour, with honest respect and love, and let the tears fall.
From light into darkness
may they find the light again
a place of comfort and of happiness
where peace reigns