Look Homeward

“You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home. People talk to you a great deal about your education, but some good, sacred memory, preserved from childhood, is perhaps the best education. If a man carries many such memories with him into life, he is safe to the end of his days, and if one has only one good memory left in one’s heart, even that may sometime be the means of saving us.” 
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky


I do not want to forget who you are

Within the ever-changing exterior, I see a shadow 

I do not want to forget that person, yet I often do forget

I do not want my words to drift

this is about me, not them or you

this is my labored error, my fault, and shortcoming

It is not without forgiveness and repair

I do not wish to forget who you are

I know who you are yet at times you escape me

You seem heavier at times

and other times appear blissful

Where is it that you go?

Are you seeking anything or are you content to wander?

It is no matter to me; I only hope you have found something

Something that keeps your mind moving amid the chaos outside

I hope no regret rests deep in your heart

For there is none in mine

Do not waste time illustrating errors of time gone by

I will not bear witness to this, do not waste your effort

I have been reborn in time for this

Gratitude pervades my soul

I am but a whisper with a crack in what was a steady voice

But my whisper is sunlight; the steadiness was a disguise

As for this sunlight, thank you for allowing it

Your softness is not weakness

It is what allows me to speak

Your softness listens deep into the darkness

Do not fear this dark; I beg of you

For it is this darkness that allows the sunshine to persevere

Instead anticipate what this night brings forth

Cling close to my chest if you wish, I will not allow darkness a home

And as I must not forget you, I urge you not to forget yourself

Recollections of small towns and big dinners

A storybook grandmother still vivid in the mind

Her cigarette filled ashtrays and working class love

Do not lose grip of these memories

For they are here in place of those that won’t stick around

They are warmth, truth, shadow and light

You hold onto these; you are not missing anything

And I will do the same

I will hold you as I know you

I cannot forget you even if I tried

I am so much of you; I grow closer to you

Do not read my words with sadness

I do not write them through tears or lost time

Time stays still so long as we remember

Time is but a moment passing by

 

 

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Rhett Burch is a writer & mental health advocate/board member with the North American Mental Illness organization in NYC. Through personal essays he shares his story of recovery and the different processes that have relieved him from many years of self-destructive behavior, depression, anxiety, and at times outright misery. His insight into the human struggle comes from personal experience and the subsequent relationship he has developed with those who still suffer. Rhett believes that by connecting with others through love and compassion, he can continually develop a clearer understanding of himself. Rhett approaches those that ask for help and does not force his views upon anyone. He practices a non-judgmental stance in all of his affairs and hopes that his experience, courage, and compassion will resonate with those that read it. ​

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