Saturday, June 6, 2009

Keep Me In Your Mind

The fear of the father is to be alone and forgotten in death by his children.

The bad news is that death takes its share and no child can shield his or her dad. The good news is that whether he has died from a heart attack in a van parked illegally on a NYC street; as one of the many troops destroyed in the fight for Omaha beach on D (certainly not dad's) Day (65 years ago, today); or in such a horror show as the concentration camp at Buchenwald, the child will keep searching to connect to the lost father.

As Elie Wiesel said on his return to Buchenwald alongside President Obama and Chancellor Merkel:

As I came here today it was actually a way of coming and visit my father's grave -- but he had no grave. His grave is somewhere in the sky. This has become in those years the largest cemetery of the Jewish people.

The day he died was one of the darkest in my life. He became sick, weak, and I was there. I was there when he suffered. I was there when he asked for help, for water. I was there to receive his last words. But I was not there when he called for me, although we were in the same block; he on the upper bed and I on the lower bed. He called my name, and I was too afraid to move. All of us were. And then he died. I was there, but I was not there. ...

Wiesel returned to his dad, the daughter of the man in the van discovered his end and a son learned solved the lifelong mystery of the soldier who gave him life but never had a chance to meet him. No child staves off a parent's death but each can help give eternal life to his memory.

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