For the last few days I have been haunted by a song that just showed up in my head. I am not a good singer, but I know the melody and most of the lyrics. The melody is so beautiful and the lyrics so lovely and so longing for a person that I had to see the movie in which the song fits the story.
The song is “I’ll be seeing you,” written by Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain, and here are the lyrics:
I’ll be seeing you in all the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces all day through
In that small cafe, the park across the way
The children’s carousel, the chestnut trees, the wishing well
I’ll be seeing you in every lovely summer’s day
In everything that’s light and gay
I’ll always think of you that way
I’ll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I’ll be looking at the moon
But I’ll be seeing you
When I sing those lyrics, it tells me that I am saying goodbye to someone I know when I am not sure when or whether I will see that person ever again. But it is more than that. It is a love song, a hurt inside for a longing to be with a person you love greatly, and a desperate feeling that the picture you have of the one you love will never be seen again. And so the memory lingers on in the morning sun and continues with the evening moon.
The song is famous, and I have sung it to myself many times. It popped into my head as I attended the bar mitzvah of my grandson more than a year ago. So many family members and friends came, and it was such a beautiful time to enjoy being with so many of them, knowing full well that many are getting older and live far away from my home. Who knows if I will ever see some of them again?
I remember the movie in which the song and story so moved me emotionally. The movie is “Shining Through,” and stars Melanie Griffith and Michael Douglas. It’s a romantic espionage thriller set in World War II in Germany. When Douglas is gone on a secret mission for six months and Griffith, who is deeply in love with him and does not know if she will ever see him again, sees him entering the dance hall and realizes that he is alive, but with another woman, the camera focuses on her face as Deirdre Harrison sings the song, “I’ll Be Seeing You.”
There is something very emotionally moving for me as I watch this part of the movie for 30 seconds. I have seen it many times. It reminds me of so many people I love who I will never see again, and even those who are alive but live so far away. It reminds me of my family in Berlin, for much of the movie takes place there.
My daughter sent me a gorgeous picture of my three grown children together in a single pose. I know that their smiling, beautiful faces all together in the photo will be all I have to look at until we get together again, which thankfully will be soon.
We live each day talking to only a few people in our lives. If you miss the ones you love, make it a point to talk to them often and see them in person as often as you can. Don’t miss out on any celebration. If you are committed to attend a funeral, then certainly you should be more committed to attend a simcha. You may have a wonderful memory of times past, but it doesn’t measure up to living in the present.
If you want to see the scene I described, you can watch it on your computer by putting in the name of the movie and the name of the song. Even better, watch the 1992 movie when Griffith and Douglas were in their prime. They don’t make this kind of great storytelling very often.
The bottom line: Embrace your memories, but it is much better to make new ones.