Friday the school had Remembrance Day assemblies, and when I picked up my youngest, the questions started.
Why do we wear this flower?
Did the soldiers have flowers?
Then why do we wear them?
Did the flowers have blood?
Why did they die?
Was it sad?
Why do the soldiers do that? (Demonstrating saluting) Oops. ________ (friend) and I thought it was funny.
How does that show respect?
Why do soldiers walk like this? (marching)
What do soldiers do?
How do they fight – hands, knives, guns?
Do soldiers kill?
Why do they have funny hats?
Do all soldiers have funny hats?
Are soldiers fighting right now?
Why do they want to do that?
Do soldiers fight in Canada?
Do soldiers die in Canada?
At home she just wanted to rock and be quiet, so we did. Siblings took turns.
photo from Wikipedia
And then she had bad dreams which is rare. She woke up a couple of times. When I asked her what she dreamed about, she told me, “War.” Now I want her to sleep well; I want her to have good dreams. Most nights a request for good dreams will be included in our evening prayers. And yet, her troubled, tender heart seems to me the most true response to an emerging understanding of war. This child’s response to the remembering gives me pause and makes me relook at the grief and horrors of war past and ongoing.
Elie Wiesel wrote a powerful telling of his experiences in Auschwitz, Night, in which he quotes a mentor named Moshe:
I’m longing for wolf and lamb lying down days. (Isaiah 11:6-9)