Remember & Smile

Lucia Otilia (Vera) and Cornelis

Eternal Life In A Memory

Presented as a mystery by many religions and spiritual leaders, eternal life is actually real simple. We live forever in the memory of those who do not forget. Captured in their minds we live on.

Looking at the picture I see my beloved parents younger than I ever seen them in real life, but the picture always fascinated me as a young man their age. What flavor ice cream they liked? Did they talk about living in the USA? Did they ask their friends what to wear at the wedding? What radio shows did they like? Did my mom wanted to be an actress or my dad a painter? Did they decide not to do it because of the kids?

In my memory I create or re-create their life based on sometimes little real knowledge of their lives. Did I remember it well? Did it really happen like this?  Did we stop in Baden-Baden or was Harare, Zimbabwe. The memories fade and re-appear vividly, but are they becoming more true. But whatever the content of the memory, the essence is never in doubt. The heart of it all is the love you still feel every day for them. And every day they stop by to visit for small talk, a disguised advice, a smile, many smiles, a 'watch-out' advise (ignored off course). And as wise parents they know when to leave and close the door for a while, only to come back and say hello again.

There is no touch; no print of the kiss, high-speed Kodak cameras don't capture them anymore, no voices around the house, no eye contact or a silent moment of understanding. Tears are familiar, but the strongest emotion is the melancholy of wanting to walk back in time and hold them - just for a few seconds.

But every screaming child, kicked out of the womb of the mother, knows they signed the Universal Life's agreement - thy shall not walk back in time. So as we walk forwards grabbing minutes, hours of our life, we keep opening the door: hi dushi, come in. Where is dad? Well, he is coming. You know your dad talks to the world and everybody in it. She smiles. [Dad comes in; smile on his face] Hi dad, how's life? He grins like only Cees grins and says softly: well, just living the memory. They were standing together and you saw them thinking: it is not a bad afterlife; our kids and friends keep us alive with love and kindness. Why should we complain? Life is what Life is. And memories are what memories are: eternal life in the minds who love.