This is for our loved ones who have left us. My parents. Your parents. And our other loved ones. But this poem is mostly for those of us who remain. I am sure the feelings were no different for Abraham & Tryntje Clock’s family, in 1600’s New Amsterdam. Or for Margaret & Jacob, in Kansas during the 1800’s. Or for all of the other Clocks throughout the generations. For the entire Family of Man.
This old Chinese poem has always deeply touched me:
when I behold the sacred liao wo* my thoughts return • to those who begat me, raised me, and now are old • I would repay the bounty they have given me • but it is as the sky; it can never be approached.
*liao wo is a species of grass symbolizing parenthood in China
“While standing at the doorway, words from the heart finally come rushing out.”
-from a graduation speech by Alan Alda