Monthly Archives: May 2012

A MEMORIAL DAY DRIVE

Memorial Day is difficult to write about. It encompasses so many things that I just can’t seem to narrow it down.

I think about all of our soldiers and about how blessed we are to live in the United States of America. Save your politics for someone else, because these thoughts are about our country’s men and women. Our children. And about bravery, courage, risk, sacrifice, and honor.

So how do I even begin?

I begin by puting the top down on my convertible and going for a ride. The road always seems to take me right where I need to go.

Today was no exception.

I turn off the radio and drive in the quiet. My thoughts turn to my brother, Steve, the youngest of six children, who served eight years in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne. I was so proud of him. I wish I had told him that more often. He passed away in 2006 at the age of 39.

   

My car takes me to Michigan Memorial Park/Cemetery, (MMP), on Huron River Drive, in Flat Rock. MMP has the most beautiful, sprawling, and peaceful grounds; they do justice to our loved ones who have passed. And oddly, I like it here.

Upon entering, I become tearful and overcome with emotion. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in myself, that I forget about life’s bigger picture.

I needed a smack of perspective right in the head.

And I got it . . . right in the heart.

A tribute to those who have served our country.

 

Because they are loved and missed.

I stop by the Christmas Box Angel Statue located within MMP to visit my son. I kiss his memory brick hello. Deep in thought, I hang my head and look down . . . to see a different kind of memory brick.

When it’s time to leave, I reluctantly get back into the car, and do what I do every time I come here; get lost trying to find my way out. Obviously, I’m driving in circles, because I keep passing the same garden signs. Finally, I start to see THE SIGNS as A SIGN.

   

Maybe one thing leads to the other?

On my way home I stop at a very patriotic house in New Boston where there is a yard sale. I meet an amazing lady and a kind soul who is also a school teacher, and, I suspect, a new friend.

 

Meet the very sweet and gracious, Susan Johnson. She’s lived in this house for 34 years and comes from a long and proud heritage of honorable war veterans.

We chat, laugh about silly things, instantly bond, and talk about Memorial Day. She is delightful and really brightens my day. I purchase a few wonderful items from her and ask her to snap a picture of me in my car.

Me, enjoying one of my life’s greatest freedoms. Peace baby.

But I can’t get this image out of my mind. Because this is what the day is all about. Sacrifice. Not only by our soldiers, but by their family’s as well. The greatest that any of us can give. In service to our Country. And in service to others.

This is what our soldiers fight for. These are their GIFTS to us; all of the simple pleasures that fill our lives and our hearts with joy. We are the reason they fight.

   

For us. And for our American way of life. And all the things we have and all the things we do each day without giving it a thought; because we are just so used to doing them and just so used to having them.

And that is how we should celebrate our fallen soldiers – by loving and sharing with friends and family. And by living well.

But not so well that we forget . . .

Today is Memorial Day; a day for honoring our veterans. But one day isn’t enough. Not nearly. Not by a long shot.

Did you know this?

Is this how we honor them?

 

Please respect them now by reading below (Facts taken from the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans):

“One out of every 4 homeless men (or 25%) in the United States is a Veteran. There are anywhere from 529,000 to 840,000 Veterans who are homeless at some time during the year.

  • 47% of homeless Veterans are from the Vietnam Era,
  • 15% are from the Pre-Vietnam Era and the remainder are from the Post-Vietnam Era including such conflicts as Granada, Panama, Lebanon, the Gulf War, the military’s anti-drug efforts in South America and the current Iraq War.
  • 67% served 3 years or more.
  • 89% received honorable discharges.
  • 76% experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems.

The Veterans Administration (VA) has resources to serve only 1 out of every 10 homeless Veterans. Community-based, Non-Profit Organizations, such as “Helping Our Veterans (HOV)” agencies have proven to be the most effective means for assisting homeless and at-risk veterans.”

Let us not forget our veterans. Let us honor them. The right way. The way our heroes deserve.

The very least we can do is to provide them with food and shelter.

They fought for us. Isn’t time we fight for them?

Change can start with just one voice. Will it be yours?

Categories: Downriver/Detroit, Michigan, Grief/Healing, Holidays/Birthdays, Patriotic/Political | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

THOUGHTS ON MOTHERS

As it was just Mother’s Day, I feel compelled to write something about them.

I have nothing against mothers, but I could more easily write about a fork.  Really. I could write you a nice little blog about the fork in the road, or the fork that I stuck in your hand, or the way I sometimes just don’t give a fork.

But mothers? The subject encompasses too much and I wouldn’t know where to begin.

So what I’ll do, rather than burn my few remaining cranky old menopausal brain cells, is share a few random thoughts with you about mothers or mothering.

***AM I STILL A MOTHER even though my only child has passed away? I don’t usually leave the house on mother’s day because it hurts when well-intentioned people say things like, “Happy Mother’s Day!” or worse yet, “Are you a mother?”

***THE LOSS OF MY INFANT SON changed my life forever,” I said to my therapist, tearfully. “I not only lost him, but I was robbed of an entire lifetime and a completely different lifestyle.”

“You need to let it go.” She replied.

Then she suddenly switched gears and quickly grabbed her briefcase off the floor.

“Oh, I’m so excited, I’ve finally got my daughter’s wedding pictures and I can’t wait to show them to you! Do you  want  to  see?” She asked brightly.

The thought crossed my mind to snatch them from her hand and set fire to them. Then gone would be her precious paper memories. Poof! And then SHE could just get over it.

“Sure.” I replied.

Later in the car, I cried the entire way home.

***I HAVE GIRLFRIENDS who are mothers. And in my eyes, THEY ARE SUPER HEROS! They astonish me with all they can accomplish in any given day. And they do it ALL. With grace. And humor. And love. I am in awe of every single one of them. I must remember to remind them of that.

***MANY OF MY FRIENDS have had to mother their own parents. We are of that generation. I admire and am humbled by them.

***MOM IS THE ONE who will be there no matter what. So what happens when she’s gone? I have friends who have lost one or both parents . . . and it breaks my heart.

***NO MATTER HOW MEEK OR SHY some of us may feel at times, most of us turn into a MOMMA BEAR if someone threatens harm to a child. We don’t even have to know that child and we would protect them without hesitation. We need to protect and love our own child within with the same voracity and ferociousness. We must learn to mother, nurture, and protect ourselves.

***I HAVE THE MOST REMARKABLE GIRLFRIENDS who have mothered me at times. I am grateful for their comfort, love, and precious time. They touch and inspire me.

***MY MOM created some special memories for us children. Here are two of my favorites:

1) All six of us kids would sit at the dining room table and mom would provide us with all the makings for homemade pizza:flour, dough, sauce, and a variety of toppings, and we all made our own individual mini pizzas for dinner.

2) All four of us sisters would sit in a row in front of the television set, and with a gentle touch, mom would brush and curl our hair; one by one. Sometimes I would get “spit” curls or banana curls, and sometimes the Marlo Thomas, “That Girl”, flip.

Please tell me, what are your favorite memories of you and your mom?

Categories: Family, Friends, Grief/Healing, Holidays/Birthdays | Tags: , , , , , | 29 Comments

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