Happy Memorial Weekend!

Memorial weekend is difficult for me. Numerous family members have served in the military. A few were lost in various wars; most came home and were never the same again. This holiday is supposed to be a time to think about those who have served.

I think about my dad. He is buried in the same cemetery as his mother. The reality is that I am related by blood or marriage to at least half of the people resting there. It is a small town in the northern part of the state. I am a direct descendent of a lady that was laid to rest in 1885. On the few occasions I visit the cemetery, I like to walk by her grave and say hello.

Dad served in the army. I am proud of this fact. I miss him so much. Losing a parent is difficult to describe. I lack the words to share how my life feels diminished because he is no longer with me. I feel my daughters are missing something vital because they do not know him. D- was only 2 years-old when he died. The younger two girls have never had the chance to know their grandfather.

People say death becomes easier with time. I disagree. The pain never goes away. The desire to see him never goes away. After all of these years, I have become accustomed to his absence, but it has not gotten any easier to live with. Although I accept the fact that he is gone, I am still angry and hurt. Perhaps it is because I was so young when he died. Perhaps it is because he was a single parent, so I feel like I have lost more than just my dad. No matter what the reason is, his loss is not any easier to live with now than it was back in 2005 when I stood by his graveside listening to taps. People have told me not to mourn the dead, but to mourn the living. Yes, this comes from the Bible. The angry part of me wants to scream at them, “tell me this after you bury your dad!”.

For so many people, Memorial weekend is a time of beaches, BBQ’s, picnics and family celebrations. For me, it is a time to reflect on my family and all of the people I have lost in my life. Not just my dad. I lost an uncle within six months of my dad. I have buried more family members in my life than I can count. I have no grandparents left. Ultimately, it is the people who are still alive, yet lost to me that seem to haunt me the most lately. Where are they now? Are they healthy and happy? My own family has disintegrated into almost nothing. Siblings do not speak to each other. I have no idea where my older siblings are. It has been years since I have seen them. I do not regret this decision. We had toxic relationships and parting ways is the best course of action for all of us. However, there are times I miss playing cards with them. I miss laughing at their jokes.

Dad held us all together. Once we lost him, we lost each other. Time does not heal all wounds, and some wounds never stop bleeding. The pain will always be with me. No matter how things turned out between me and my siblings, I truly wish only the best in life for them. Am I allowed to lie to myself? Am I allowed the say that dad had to die in order to watch over all of us children that much better?