Roger Ebert, the film critic, expresses what it means beautifully here
That is what death means. We exist in the minds of other people, in thousands of memory clusters, and one by one those clusters fade and disappear. Some years from now, at a funeral with a slide show, only one person will be able to say who we were. Then no one will know.I think he is right. I thought of my father when I read that, a far greater man than I will ever be, and thought of the way that even that memory fades with age. Death comes twice, once through absense and secondly through forgetfulness. The greatest commitment in the war poetry is
At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember themSave of course we now do not. Not because we are wrong or evil in some way but because we never knew what we had to remember. To some extent that is what history is- its a device for remembering those who are gone, who are lost, who will never return. But it is an endeavour that will always fail. Its the same with growing in some ways- as we grow, we kill the previous parts of ourselves- the games we would play as children, the love that we left behind, the world we had lost. Reading Barnes's Sense of an Ending, I got taken more and more with the title- is there anything to human life which is not a sense of ending?