More to Memorialize

More to Memorialize

Just over two months ago, we canceled a trip to Key West. We almost went, tossing Covid caution to the wind, not realizing what it would soon blow in our direction, and the magnitude of what was to come in this country. A few days later was St. Patrick’s Day. It was an unordinarily unlucky day for the lucky Irish…and every other nationality that shares this nation.

But, despite not being in sunny Key West that morning enjoying “breakfast” at Irish Kevin’s, we made Irish coffees and shared soda bread at a much different Island – the one in our kitchen.

Instead of walking down Duval Street taking in all the live music and making new friends, we rode our bikes around the neighborhood blasting Dropkick Murphy’s from the portable radio, making friends out of neighbors.

We toasted in our own living room to a better day to come, when we would be back in Key West and back to seeing more than just the lovely people who reside around our block…never fathoming it would be even more than two months away and take us straight from winter to summer.

The day, the disappointment, and the dream all inspired me to write and post the below piece.

So, from St. Patrick’s Day to Memorial Day, from one holiday to the next, from a warm start of spring to a chilly start to summer, I wanted to repost this…written on an unlucky March 17th, a piece of disappointment and dreams. (aftermath to follow)

And the world quieted,

and the stores shut down,

and the smoke started clearing,

and the streets stopped beeping…

…and the people stayed home.

They considered themselves unlucky on a day that was meant to be about luck.

They canceled.

So they cooked a new recipe.

The read a book.

They cleaned that closet.

They taught themself guitar.

They wrote that story.

They opened the wine they’d been saving.

They binged that show everyone’s been talking about.

They taught their children.

They went for walks.

They waved to neighbors.

They caught up on emails.

They called their moms.

They played board games.

They facetimed friends.

They created music.

They exercised.

They baked cookies.

They cuddled their dogs.

They took a bubble bath.

They made love.

They toasted.

They appreciated teachers and nurses and police officers.

They thought of the young, the old, and the sick.

They prayed.

They laughed.

They sung.

They danced.

They cried.

They shared.

They dreamed.

They regretted.

They hoped.

They began to heal.

And when the world grew loud,

and the stores opened their doors,

and the smoke cleared,

and the streets gleamed…

…so did the people.

They considered themselves lucky.

They gathered.

They shook hands, and hugged, and kissed.

They cut their losses

and made their plans.

They caught up with friends.

They cooked and broke bread.

They cuddled.

They tasted and sipped.

They played music.

They danced.

They laughed.

They cried.

They toasted.

They shared.

They dreamed.

They recovered…

…and so did the world.

Because when the people speak

and open

and beep

and gleam

and grow

and heal

the world echoes the sound and reflects the light.

-Melissa Rutigliano, 3/17/20

I thought by now we’d be in the second part of this piece. We’d be celebrating the start of summer and memorializing those who died in service from a time farther away than yesterday. We’d be cutting old loses and making new plans. We’d be living on the up. We’d be together.

And some are. Some are slowly coming out of quarantine, distancing themselves outside or in masks with the people they haven’t seen in months. Some are getting negative tests results and getting on with their lives. Some are starting to get out more. Some are going back to work. Some are well rested and rejuvenated. Some are headed to the beach. Some are breaking bread together again.

But some can’t afford bread. Some are still confined to their homes. Some are buried further under the blanket of loneliness. Some are still testing positive and suffering symptoms. Some are petrified of the open beaches. Some have never stopped working and are exhausted. Some still haven’t gotten a single unemployment paycheck.

So, on a weekend of remembrance, let’s remember all of that. Yes, we are all in this together, but no, we are not all swimming in the same sea. Some have yachts and some are drowning. But maybe we can all try to keep swimming side by side in some way. And if you see the mate beside you needing a life raft, throw them one. Let’s continue to honor the ones who gave their lives for us. And then let’s honor the living by trying to keep on living ourselves. And whomever you may be breaking bread with this weekend – whether it be family, friends, your cat or yourself, please consider yourself lucky. And if you don’t have bread to break, ask someone for some. There are plenty of bakers out there willing to share.

And then let’s echo the sound and reflect the light.

Posted by mrutigliano, 18 comments