in memoriam

Ana Zaldarriaga
Ana Zaldarriaga

I recently found a box of photos hidden in the bottom drawer of a filing cabinet.  It was from a trip to the Philippines I took with my closest friend over 17 years ago.  Looking through them, I relived many many exciting moments of my youth, until I came across a photo of one of my uncles when he was close to the age I am now.  Sadly, he passed away five years ago but I found myself moved to tears as if it just happened, flooded with such love for him that I forget I carry him in my heart with me every day. Sometimes I forget the capacity of our hearts to hold love. 

My daughter is at the stage now where she remembers when an object, that was in her hands just seconds ago, gets taken away or hidden.  Her collection of memories is growing based on the sounds she hears, faces she sees, places she goes, and experiences she has.  She can remember YOU, ME and a moment that we share in the collective time of our lives. As a family, I am still learning that while we experience the now together, and plan the future together, we also share the past whether or not it was an actual collective history.  My husband’s twenty year old life ripples into the man he is now, as my eight year old self arrives in our lives every now and again. The experiences of our lives impact our identities every day, and therefore, so do the reflections of that time.  So I am not quite sure how I didn’t realize that my Memorial Day weekend would have signified more than beach openings, BBQ and some extra family time.  That in our family, Memorial Day, intentionally or not,  would actually bring up memories of those who have passed in service to this country.
In this country’s culture, we have created holidays and commemorations for everything from love to pancakes and parkinsons disease. For example, today is Chancellor’s Day and tomorrow is National Doughnut Day! But we don’t really need a day to remember moments of great happiness or sadness, do we?  Don’t we carry them all in our hearts with us every day? Don’t we look out at the day through these memories, step into the light of life with their imprints on our lens, and close our eyes into the night where they are part of our blanket of sleep? 
We do. "I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” In memory of Maya Angelou, our dear friend and colleague Gil Turchin, and anyone and everyone we carry in our hearts, we remember you, yesterday, today and tomorrow.
“you rose into my life like a promised sunrise, brightening my days with the light in your eyes. I’ve never been so strong. now I’m where I belong” - Maya Angelou
To watch Maya Angelou’s tribute tomorrow at 1pm on live stream, go to
To celebrate art in NYC, check out the 23-car free blocks of museums on June 10th at 
For another tribute to a great poet, check out the readings of Walt Whitman’s Song to Myself this weekend at


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Ana Zaldarriaga

By Ana Zaldarriaga

Ana Zaldarriaga Pronouns: she/her/hers Sr. Dir. of Employee Development The Leadership Program 535 8th Avenue, Floor 16 New York City, NY 10018 Phone: 212.625.8001 Fax: 212.625.8020 “…building strong leaders in classrooms and communities."