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Joanna Manning is a graduate of Syracuse University and the Rainier Writing Workshop.

Her work has appeared in the Tacoma News Tribune, Travel Tacoma + Pierce County, Seattle Metropolitan Magazine Women's Health Annual, A River & Sound Review, Collateral and in content marketing materials all around the web. 

When she is not spending time with her family, she can be found working in her garden, staring off into space, burning dinner, or unearthing stories from her family history.

Walking by

Walking by

A Memorial Day reflection

There's a gold star flag in the front window of a house down the street. I'm often tempted to stop in and meet the residents, to let them know that I see them, that I acknowledge their loss, but I'm never quite sure if thanks or apologies are in order, so I simply walk by. I'm ashamed, in fact, of how easy it is to walk by.

When I was overseeing an Army funeral detail years ago, the ceremony script was a merciful crutch. I could never stumble or say the wrong thing to the family. Except it all seemed wrong to me, every last piece of it. The weight of the ceremonial flag defied physics: that thin fabric, when folded against itself, grew so heavy. What widow could carry such weight?

Even the words on behalf of a grateful nation didn't ring true, then or now. We are a nation of people tending to the day-to-day, fretting over the various concerns of the living. It's all as it must be. I don't fault anyone for seeking out an easy conscience. 

But on days like today, we are compelled to stop and peer into that neighbor's window, wondering at the grief inside. And when the weight of that grief becomes unbearable, we can only pray for forgiveness as we shift our gaze and walk by.

 

 

https://www.memorialdayfoundation.org/

And so it goes

And so it goes

Age like a man

Age like a man