Field of Honor Full of Stories

Each grave on a field of honor is marked by either a cross or a stone. On these markings is a name to see. A name, a date of birth and a date of death. Letters that stand witness to a life cut short too soon, a life story whose end came through war. The story behind each stone is not just of the one who lies there; it also bears witness to something lost in the lives of the relatives left behind and their story of how they moved on after the loss of their loved ones.

Therefore, the Field of Honor is a field of stories. Personal stories. Stories of courage, fear and dilemmas. It is a field of honor for war victims, young and old, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters ... people like you and me. To make visible what was truly lost to war, the Field of Honor becomes a field "full of life" during the commemoration. People taking their place behind a headstone make visible the life lost in a way that cannot be expressed in spoken language. But just by being present.

My walk through the landscape of mourning on the Loenen Field of Honor

Walking in silence on the Field of Honor Full of Life I feel my head bow in humility. So many precious lives were given in war and peace missions. Also that of my grandfather. People representing the dead behind the graves on either side of the path form a hedge. The dividing lines of death and life are made visibly present here.

I become aware of what is happening within me. It feels overwhelming and my field of vision is too small for so many graves, so many given lives. Within me it becomes quieter by the minute. I feel all the more connected to what is there in that silence, everything breathes of life and love.
Can I keep looking or would I rather close my eyes? Do I look off into the distance down the path of life or to the grave and into the eyes of the representative?
In those eyes I feel an invitation to go back in time and be in the now at the same time. The quieter I am from the inside the more contact I experience with the wordless life stories. Intensely impressive to be so close to so many.

I step in as a representative for a woman of my age. Suddenly I represent death. People in freedom literally walk past me. Life has moved on. Life force in the field of death.

In front of me, someone stands still and looks at me. I feel the intensity of silence. I feel seen in the greatest thing I have given, my life. We have contact at the dividing line of life and death.

The Field of Honor Full of Life offers an experience and gives me even more insight into what it is deeply about. Namely, what death means through war and honoring these dead in present life by the living. There is a healing power that comes from paying attention to the dead.
It touches me to be present in the field where the connection between life and death is and where we meet.

I have become even more aware of how I move in freedom, on the border of life and death. How I am and can be there in the encounter with the other, in the field of mourning and love. I find peace in the quest of my desire to deal with my loss and mourning. A journey that also takes me past loss and grief in our family line. In the loss of my grandfather through war.

An exceptionally beautiful ritual about war, peace and freedom and for everyone to experience life, death, grief and love around it.

Monique Manders
Loss expert/grief therapist