Let’s admit it… Most of us think that this three day weekend symbolizes the start of summer, and needs to be celebrated in very much the same way as Labor Day is – with BBQ and/or camping. Shopping those sales. Having picnics with loved ones. Not going to work or school. Sleeping in and staying in our pajamas all day. Getting caught up with our chores around the house.
But Memorial Day has the same solemn undertone to it that Veteran’s Day has. Instead of honoring the live soldiers, we remember those who have lost their lives so that we can live ours. Freedom comes with a price, and that price is often horrible – the price of blood.
Is it too much to ask for a moment of stillness and silence?
Can you imagine the bravery? The glory? The danger? The sounds of bombs going off? The orders? And then, sadly, the silence that comes when these men and women have paid the ultimate price?
We take so much for granted here in America. We can do anything as long as we have the means to do it. We’re lucky because we are not slaves. We are lucky we don’t have to live in terror like so many people in the Middle East do. We can be happy. And yet, most of us whine and grumble about little things that don’t really matter. We spread gossip like it is butter on bread. We complain about our lives and jobs and how we never get to do the things we actually want to do. What’s stopping us, really? Our attitudes! We need to make a change in order to see change. Positive changes equal positive results.
I’m going to share a video below that I found on youtube last night. One commenter, Sverrir92, says,
Its a strange feeling to know that the greatest gift I have was given to me through the ultimate sacrifice, dedication, and bravery, of strangers. That this beautiful day I have can be experienced without worry, without fear, is something that is trully amazing. Often I feel inadequate, and unworthy of the sacrifice. So today, with every moment that I have the privilege to enjoy, I think of their sacrifice, and try to honor them as best I can.
That is the spirit of a TRUE American.
Thank you to everyone who voted in my poll! The name “Annabeth” wins; however, I am going to spell it with one N – Anabeth. I have never heard of that name before I started watching “Close to Home” in 2006. It only had one season before it got cancelled, but Annabeth has stayed with me. The show was about a prosecutor (Annabeth Chase, played by Jennifer Finnigan) who returns to work after having a baby. And oh! I just remembered Christian Kane was in it too – he was the whole reason I started watching this show in the first place. I loved him on “Angel,” though, on that I didn’t very much care for his character, as he was kinda evil (there are degrees to evilness, don’t you know?) and more than a little messed up. I don’t think it was entirely his fault though. Here’s a picture of him:
Isn’t he yummy? I don’t remember his name in the show (and I don’t want to watch it again because I just remembered what happened to Kane’s character in the finale – it’s very, very, very bad), but he played Annabeth’s husband, and was a stay-at-home-dad, I think. Can I cast Christian in the movie of my novel? Oh! Just got the face for my Anabeth’s dad (see above). What should HIS name be? Where did my baby name books go? UGH.
First my blu ray player remote disappeared and now my baby name books?
It is a miracle I know where anything is these days. I need like a dozen or so more names too for the story. Guess I know what I am doing tomorrow (after writing a Memorial Day post, of course – freedom comes at a very steep price). While I’m at it, I’ll be sure to grab the phone book as well, for help with surnames. Ha!
I remember when I was little and used to imagine that you were my twin, trapped behind glass. Your every movement mirrored mine, and sometimes I would get overexcited and try to avoid seeing you, because I thought if I did, you would do something independent of me. That freaked me out to no end. I still avoid looking into your eyes sometimes because I don’t like what I see there. The sadness is too much for me. I like the fire and the hope, but sometimes you get so heavy with sadness that I cannot bear to actually see it. I know when it happens, even without you. I get quiet. My heart is heavy. Nothing makes me happy. This is such an awful world to live in sometimes, but it still has God’s hand on it. If it didn’t, I think it would shatter into a gazillion pieces. He holds it together. He holds me together.
You tell me no lies. I love and hate you for that. When I am by myself, lost in my own world, it is easy to forget my physical challenges. I hear the voice in my head and it’s clear and strong, though coming at me a thousand miles per minute, with every beat of my heart. But you show me the truth – it’s through you and through the eyes of others that I really see myself how I actually am, and sometimes it’s too much. I have to get away, but I don’t really know how other than crawling into bed and pulling the covers over my head. But the world is not going to be better off if I hide all the time. The hardest thing to to in this world is to live in it. Press on – that is all I can do. Because anything else is completely unacceptable. I have to be strong while I’m weak. It’s the only way.
There is more I could say, but I don’t want this to be a novel…
I want to tell you everything, but because you know it all all ready, I think it doesn’t matter if I do or not. My heart is in the right place, at least most of the time. But sometimes I get lazy, or I get scared because there is a mountain of work ahead of me. I don’t think I have what it takes to do it, and that that is not true, because I have you, and together, we can do anything.
Children are hurting and dying everyday, and nothing is being done about it. Pediatric cancer is awful. I may not remember my fight, but you do. And there are so many being taken early. Why? Maybe I’ll never understand this until I am within the gates of Heaven, and until then, I will fight. I know it wasn’t originally the plan, letting things such as cancer into this world. I know it wasn’t your intention for us to suffer the way we do. And I know you’ve promised, this isn’t all there is to our existence. It’s so hard, though, for the parents, siblings, extended families, and friends to cope after you take someone away. I understand why you come though… human doctors are just so limited in what they can give to cure, especially now, when funding is so low. Please show us how to change this. Children need to come first – there isn’t any future without them.
I know you have the families that are grieving surrounded by love and light and angels. No one is every truly alone. Of all your promises, the one in John 16:33 is my favorite…
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
You haven’t just overcome cancer, but the whole world! I know we don’t listen to you nearly as often as we should, but we’re trying. The awfulness of this world gets in the way of the good most of the time, and people forget that you are there, loving them, yearning to be loved by them. But the good news is that you are there, and you will always be there.
Please continue to be patient with me. I am afraid of trying and failing, but I know all to well that I’ve already failed if I don’t try. Your will, Lord, not mine. Always and forever.
Despite you being a dog (or an Ewok-dog), you have definitely changed my life for the better. You are the best canine companion I could have ever asked for. Though I like to complain about you hogging the bed at night, I secretly love it. It is true I cannot move when you rest your head on my leg or even curl up on top of both of them, but I would not trade the feeling of being loved on by you for anything in the world. You are the most patient friend ever, and rarely complain (yes, whining at the bedroom door counts as complaining).
I’ve had you since you were three months old (a little ball of fluff), and you’re four years old now. When you were a puppy, you were trouble. You used to escape the fenced-in backyard (like it isn’t enough space for you, half-acre of space) when we weren’t looking, and sometimes when we were. I will never forget that one time you disappeared. I did not know you crossed the highway. You were one very lucky little girl when that little boy found you unharmed. And then we got a phone call. You were safe. I got you back, and I sent that little boy some reward money in the mail. To have you safe in my arms, no price was too high.
You have definitely made me a better human. You treat everyone the same – excitement to see them and with all the love that is in your little heart. You even get excited when I come back from getting the mail! That is pure love. Most of the time, humans don’t acknowledge each other when one of them leaves the room for a bit and comes back. You are always ready to play and have fun with me – if I start squeaking a toy, you always come running, except for when you are being stubborn. You are so loved and treasured by your mama! Thank you for putting up with me calling you an Ewok everyday (maybe you think that is your other name?), for making me use my voice more (I talk to you more than anybody, don’t I?), for not judging, being loyal, and for committing to snuggle time every night. And for putting up with Aliza Fay as well as you do. She loves you and I know you love her. And I know you will love whoever else comes along next.
Your human mother
Dear Friendly Nurse,
I feel badly that I don’t remember your name. I should. Did it start with an M or an S? I really have no idea. You came into my life (and hospital room) in the summer of 2005, and guess what? I don’t even remember if it was the first time I had back surgery that summer or the second. Usually my memory isn’t as bad as this, but it was only one or two days that I knew you or spent any time with you.
The things I do remember the most about you are as follows:
- Your smile – it opened up your whole face, and made me like you instantly.
- Your red hair that shone in the sunlight which was coming through the windows.
- Your bubbly personality – you came in my room smiling, which made me smile too, despite the fact that I was feeling miserable.
- You washed my hair (thank GOD above), gave me a sponge bath and generally made me feel like a human again, and not like a helpless gross THING in a bed.
- the stories you told me about your two little girls. I would think that they are grown now, or mostly so. I forget the stories (sorry again) but I do remember that you showed my mother and me pictures of them. They were cute, of course. How could they not be?
I think you could probably be famous if you decided to make youtube videos for other nurses on how to be their patient’s favorite nurse. Because you’ve got it down, girlfriend!
I will probably never see you again (in fact, I am hoping not, no offense – it would mean that I’m back in that stinky hospital having yet another back surgery and who wants that? Not me. Definitely not me.) but I just want you to know that I thought (and still think) that you were one of the kindest nurses I can remember having in my life. I know you’ll keep it up, because it’s just who you are.
Wherever you are today, I am sending you good thoughts and well wishes for you and yours. God bless.
A few weeks ago, you had a childhood cancer awareness video set for release on youtube, but you were worried about it being good enough for your viewers. You asked me if I wanted to preview it, and I said yes. You made me “pinky promise” that I wouldn’t show anybody else. It didn’t matter that it was only a virtual pinky promise. I gave my word and I stood by it.
I am so sorry you lost your beautiful son to this horrific disease. It has almost been three months since he’s been gone, but I know you feel the loss of him just as fresh and as heavy on your heart as the day he stopped breathing. Babies should not die in this day and age. It’s so wrong and so unfair to you and to your wife and to your other children. So unfair to your baby boy who hadn’t even begun living. I don’t mean to make you cry with this letter, but I just want people to hear the truth about childhood cancer.
Yesterday, about 46 children were diagnosed with cancer. Yesterday, about 7 more children died from it. Today, 46 children are hearing the words “You have cancer.” Today, 7 more children will die. The same will happen tomorrow – 46 diagnosed, 7 dead. We are fighting to get the word out. Things will change. They have to. Your son will have a legacy – the legacy of a cure. I promise you… pinky promise. We will make others see what we see and they will stand with us.
Your son was insanely strong, and he got that from you being his daddy. I wish I could say something magic here to lessen the pain of losing him, but the truth is that there are no magic words. Just fight. Keep going for your boy. I know he is proud of you. How could he not be, with all that you’re doing in his name, and all that you’re going to do? NEGU, R, NEGU.
Dear J and J,
I saw a post today on Facebook that said your precious little boy N passed away today. The word “sorry” doesn’t seem enough. It seems empty and stupid. Me saying “I’m sorry” won’t bring him back. Nothing will. But I am sorry. I am so sorry that N had to go. I know that because they love N and you, people will say dumb things like, “He’s in a better place,” or “My dog died so I know how you feel,” or even “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” I am sorry that you have to hear these things. These people mean well – they just don’t know what it is that you need. It’s okay to tell them, and it’s okay to just walk away. There are no rules. If I were with you right now, I wouldn’t say anything. I would just sit and cry with you. I’d hug you both tight.
I don’t even know you, but I understand how everybody grieves differently. You have every right to do whatever you want to do to remember your son. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. Their intentions are good, but they’re not you. They weren’t N’s mom or dad. Time does not heal all wounds. Some days you’ll wake up, and for a few precious moments, you’ll forget he’s gone, and then your grief will be there, so heavy it’s almost solid. And it will crush you. When this happens, I hope you will cry out to the One who understands and loves you the most. Because even though He took N away from you much too soon, you were so blessed to be N’s mother and father. If you let Him, God will get you through this.
I’m a childhood cancer survivor. My parents almost lost me multiple times during the course of my childhood. And yet, I am still here by His grace alone, thirty plus years later. I want you to know that I am fighting for more awareness, more funding, and ultimately the cures. I want you to know that because there are good people in this world, people willing to do whatever it takes to help, despite there being such awful things as cancer.
Please try, really try, to live the kind of life you would have wanted N to have. He’s with you always, and if you look for them, there are signs. It is his way of telling you he loves you.
I am praying for you.
Love and tears,