Friday, February 17, 2023

Abide with me

Patrick Kurp today:
.... The worthy dead are to be remembered. I take that to mean the personal dead – family, friends – and those we know only second-hand, perhaps through books or history. Memory grants a post-mortem immortality. Only when the last to remember the dead person is gone is he truly dead. Memory reanimates. The Jewish practice of observing the Yahrtzeit only makes sense. Forgetting kills. Every March 28 I remember my maternal grandmother, the kindest of my relatives, who died in 1972 at age eighty-four and whom I never saw angry. While she was alive I would never have thought to tell her that. .... In his Rambler essay published on February 17, 1751, Dr. Johnson writes:
[F]ew can review the time past without heaviness of heart. He remembers many calamities incurred by folly, many opportunities lost by negligence. The shades of the dead rise up before him; and he laments the companions of his youth, the partners of his amusements, the assistants of his labours, whom the hand of death has snatched away.”
The hymn “Abide with Me” was written by the Scottish Anglican cleric Henry Francis Lyte (1793-1847). It’s a prayer imploring God to stay with the speaker throughout life and in death, and was written by Lyte as he was dying from tuberculosis. ....

Patrick Kurp, "The Shades of the Dead Rise Up," Anecdotal Evidence, Feb. 17, 2023.

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