Over the last four or five days Facebook has been inundated with posts about Memorial Day. Some posts are nice gentle reminders about what Memorial Day is, others are rude (and quite frankly a little annoying). We spend a lot of time trying to correct each others actions and perceptions, when really we should be looking inward. I truly appreciate those who have already done that.
I was able to talk to Frank today for a good amount of time. We talked about how I am feeling and these little things that are getting under my skin. He told me that I always get really angry this time of year. In fact, he said I used to be angry a lot and he always knew when I was upset about Michael because he would come home to holes in the wall. He has fixed a lot of holes…and so has my father-in-law. The point is, I am visibly less angry this year. I am still angry…but I am less angry. I miss Michael so much, and it is so hard to breathe without him. But, I find great comfort in the fact that he CHOSE me. No one else can say that. In fact, when he chose me, he also made a conscious choice to leave a lot of others behind. So, for the first summer, I am settled. I feel less turmoil in my soul. I know that the next few months will still be tough, but I have committed to focusing on the fact that I know Michael IS my soul mate and that he is a part of me still.
I remember before; all the long weekends I got to spend with Michael. We spent our weekends carefree. Maybe it was because we were not a part of Facebook, or maybe it was because we kept to ourselves, but I don’t remember people being as up in arms about things then as they are now. I went back through my blog and I read what I have written over the last couple of year about Memorial Day. In 2010 I did not write anything. I do know that I stayed home and I did nothing. In 2011 I was still desperately trying to grasp what had happened and I was still not in the mood to “celebrate”. Here is what I wrote: https://widowdiaries.com/2011/05/30/memorial-day/ In 2012 I pretty much wanted everyone to enjoy themselves while remembering, and to stop being so mean to each other. Much like I feel right now. Here is what I wrote: https://widowdiaries.com/2012/05/28/today-is-just-like-yesterday-and-even-more-like-tomorrow-in-my-house/ This was also the first year that I left my house and did something to honor Michael. The two previous years I honored Michael in my own way, but this year, the kids and I made a conscious effort to do something in public. What we did: https://widowdiaries.com/2012/05/29/i-took-a-step/ Last year it is evident I was in a lot of pain. I didn’t write. I know I shared what a wrote two years prior, and days before I wrote about our trip to the Marine Corps Museum. https://widowdiaries.com/2013/05/23/we-will-never-forget/(). I was going through a lot last year, and things were just very hard. I felt like I was being suffocated for a long time. Frank was only home a few months the entire year (much like he will be this year), and everything seemed unbearable. Looking back, I think that I am in a much better place today.
Today. Today. Today. I can only take it by each day. That is what I know now. Instead of trying to make it a week, or a month, or planning for things far off in the future, I can only do one day at a time. I made a lot of things really hard on myself by worrying about what would happen and how I could keep people happy. I can’t do that anymore.
My question this year is, what are you going to do to remember the Fallen? Memorial Day, as I have written before, was originally called Decoration Day. The tradition of decorating the graves of soldiers was born out of hope after the Civil War. Women in the south decorated graves of men they did not even know, in hopes that others would remember their loved ones that were gone forever as well, buried away from home, and would do the same as them. Memorial Day was designated as the day to remember those who gave their lives, the ultimate sacrifice, for our country in war. The kids and I don’t really have a place to go to to remember Michael, because he is here with us. That was a choice that Michael and I made before he died. There is the MARSOC wall with his name on it, but it is a headache to go there. There is the brick at the museum, but that is far away. So, the kids and I will do something here at home, that is of their choosing, specifically to honor Michael. But, we will also do other things. Our entire day cannot center around Michael’s sacrifice because that is an incredibly depressing way to live. (I have done it, I know). I don’t know everything that we will do tomorrow. We might have sad time, I will most definitely have closet time, we might do some work, but we will absolutely take some time out to have fun. That is what Michael would want us to do. All those things I listed, they don’t just happen because it is Memorial Day. They happen every day. In our house every day is Memorial Day…
I don’t care what you do…take a moment (or many moments) to remember those who died in war. Drink a 1/5th of Whiskey (though I think that is foolish and I do not actually advise this). Put up a flag, plant some flowers, go for a long drive, have fun with your family and bask in your freedom to do so. Just do something that honors the ultimate sacrifice of the men and women who have died in war for our country.
I want everyone to take time tomorrow to stop pointing fingers and telling everyone else what to do. Take some time to look inward and reflect on what you are doing. Is what you are doing really honoring and remembering the Fallen? Posting “Remember the Fallen” on Facebook really isn’t enough. It is a knee jerk reaction, something easy to complete (sort of like this blog post), do something better and worthy of their sacrifices. That’s all I ask of my friends and readers…