As I’ve mentioned in several of my previous posts, it is so important to me that Ginny is remembered. Remembering her makes me feel closer to her. It acknowledges her life and impact and makes it more real.
Through this loss, I came to a deeper understanding of the value of remembrance. I can feel the power of a physical and symbolic act of remembrance. To honor someone or something through the act of remembering is spiritual. It connects our bodies to our minds and hearts. It gives significance.
Daniel and I knew we were changed forever because of Ginny. We wanted a physical symbol to remind us of her, our love, how we were comforted in our sorrow, and all the lessons we’ve learned through suffering. We decided to both get tattoos to honor and remember Ginny.
I decided to get her name on my wrist. I wanted it to be obvious that the tattoo has a special meaning. I want people ask; I want our future children to ask. So I will always share her story. I was already permanently marked in my heart. Now I am permanently marked on my body. I love it.
Daniel’s tattoo is more symbolic. On days I think I may want to put my hair up, I wear a hairband around my wrist. During labor, I quickly realized I wouldn’t be able to wear my hairband on my wrist because of the IVs in my hand. Daniel volunteered to wear my hairband around his wrist in the hospital. He used it to put my hair up for me before the epidural. He took care of me. That hairband fell out of my hair and behind my back in the hospital bed during delivery. It was there when we held Ginny’s body and gave it up. When we left the room, Daniel was sure to find that hairband and put it back on his wrist. He has worn it everyday since. It reminds him of Ginny, taking care of me, what we’ve been through, and what we are missing. It has been a physical reminder of the change he experienced. He decided to get a black band tattooed on his wrist to represent that hairband and all its meaning. So beautiful!
There is so much power in a physical symbol of remembrance. Something so small can have so much meaning. It carries the meaning around with it. It pulls on our hearts every time it is seen.
Again and again in the Bible, we hear God asking people to remember – to remember his love, to remember all the times people cried out for help and God drew near, to remember what we’ve learned. Time and time again people forget. Time and time again, God reminds us. He reminds us, then he tells us to remember.
Traditions in the Jewish and Christian faiths come from this call to remember. On the night he was betrayed, Jesus was sharing a meal with his disciples as an act of remembrance of the Passover. He broke bread, poured wine, gave thanks, and said, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me…This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant of my blood.” (Luke 22:19-20) That covenant represents the reconciliation of man and God, the forgiveness of sins, and the defeat of death through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
The act of remembering that meal and Jesus’s loving sacrifice is called communion. At our church everyone forms a line and takes a small piece of bread from a loaf and dips it in a cup of “wine”. Sometimes Daniel and I are asked to help serve it. Daniel will hold the loaf and say to each person, “Body of Christ, broken for you.” I hold the cup and say, “Blood of Christ, poured out for you.” I look each person in the eye as we share in this act of remembrance again and again and again until the entire church has taken communion. If you ever get the opportunity to serve communion, I highly suggest it. It is not checking the box of religious ritual. It is a powerful and spiritual experience. Something about that physical act to acknowledge Jesus’s love for each and every one of us is overwhelming. My heart feels so full afterward. It is a symbol that carries so much meaning.
Sometimes we need that. We need a physical symbolic reminder of what is most important. We get swept up in our lives and forget to remember. These acts or symbols of remembrance make us pause, think, remember, and feel the impact in our hearts. It keeps us grounded and connected to God and to each other.
“Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children.” – Deuteronomy 4:9