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  • Maureen Boyle

Pausing to remember

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

The raindrops at a funeral are the tears of angels, mourning the dead but welcoming their souls to heaven.

That was a sentiment shared by my grandmother, my mother and my aunt over the years as we trudged through a muddy cemetery in Connecticut or queued up to pay respects at a wake. The line by my mother and aunt was something like "the angels are crying because a good person has died." My grandmother didn't speak English so I assume her version was much more lyrical as all things before a family's very rough translation usually are.

I think about the saying, though, on days of mourning and holidays marked to honor the dead. I think about how so many Memorial Day "holiday" weekends are chilly and grey.

To many, Memorial Day marks the traditional start of summer, the meaning of the holiday lost in the flurry of sales and backyard parties. In the years of rain, the meteorologists lament the rain washing out the celebrations, the fun, the getaways.

To those schooled in history, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who fought in wars, the lives cut short in battles forgotten. It is a time to remember those who died in the Civil War, when the day was called "Decoration Day", and those lost in all the wars that followed. It is a time to pause and reflect.

It is a rainy New England weekend this year - on May 30, what was traditionally Memorial day, and on May 31, when it is "celebrated." I like to think the angels are crying


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