We Are Gathered Here Together

In loving memory of my family…

My grandfather,
he ordered black coffee,
a soup and salad before his meal,
steak and potatoes,
and always leaving room for dessert
at buffets on the other side of town

A routine meal
to this day
is remembered
as my favorite meals with him

My Dad loved on his Alaskan crab legs
with a side of melted butter
While Mom ordered chicken
at a seafood restaurant
She never offered to pay
while Auntie told us,
‘Don’t take it for granted,
she should say ‘Thanks’’

A routine meal
that to this day
is remembered
as our family meals together

The holidays would arrive suddenly,
every holiday,
as our family rushed off to Sunday service.

Was this excursion a last minute decision?
Is the calendar right? Always arriving late,
we discreetly sneaked into the pews.
With a family of five, surely no one would notice.
But they did, they always notice.

A routine holiday
that would years later
be remembered
as our holidays together

Every year,
every holiday,
every birthday,
the same restaurants,
the same routine,
the same church service.

But at least we gathered
in the familiar ways we knew
what was to come.
We could count on those moments,
those familiar moments.

Now we look back
without the chance to relive
all those memories,
without the words of togetherness
without bickering
without reconciling
No more chasing each other around the yard
No more climbing up the tree, my favorite tree
All that is left are these memories
While isolating from our high-strung family

Now we pass the memories on
while making new ones;
new choices of restaurants,
holidays, vacations
and promises of not being late
(but who are we kidding, we’re always late)

And yet, some things will remain
I’ll keep the same dessert
in honor of my grandparents
whose struggles and sacrifices for our family
deserve to be rewarded
with a slice of warm apple pie

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