Memorial Day is almost over. It has been a long weekend of no work (at least with my “day” jobs), no school for either myself or my child, and a visit to a petting zoo-a nice one (they do exist) -which included getting to pet a chicken and watching my daughter hold a kitten like a baby. It meant my daughter having a sleep over with one of her bffs, and as it winds down it means listening to the thunderstorm outside.
As this Memorial Day ends, I reflect on my family. My paternal grandfather, who served in World War II and then as a police officer, only to die young and leave a grieving widow and five young children behind. My dad, who at 15 suddenly became a father figure to his siblings. He was supposed to serve in Vietnam, but severe injuries in a motorcycle accident and the fact that my grandmother needed him made that impossible. I didn’t speak to him for over 20 years, and it wasn’t long after we started communicating again that he died from complications of a stroke from advanced heart disease, a silent killer than no one even suspected. How I wish I had spent more time with him, for I didn’t expect him to die at only 62.
I reflect on my step paternal grandfather. Still going strong at 90. A WWII veteran who still walks everyday and drives. He is an inspiration to me everyday to enjoy life and to learn new things and take care of myself. I also remember my uncle-my mother’s big brother-who died from cancer caused by being exposed to Agent Orange while serving in Vietnam; his only daughter was born with severe birth defects from it and died soon after. I bet he would be proud to see that two of his sons and his grandson have proudly served their country.
I remember Shelli, Mike,Todd, Dusty, Brad, Dave, Spencer, and my other classmates and friends who are gone much too soon. Memorial Day is a day for honoring and remembering everyone we have lost. Shelli, I miss you most of all. Every second of my life.
As this Memorial Day ends I salute all who served, honor all who sacrificed, and remember everyone I have loved and lost.