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25 May, 2015

It Feels Weird to Say It

     The notion of wishing someone a "Happy" Memorial Day seems so strange, doesn't it?  Most people who observe the holiday as it should be observed are remembering people who have passed and are no longer with us.  I suppose though that bringing up those memories can bring up wonderful feelings and make you smile, even if longing and pain comes with them.
     This morning we went to a parade.  Baby Bee decided last minute to stay home with Nanny.  It was a very small parade, which made me feel a little sad, but people did turn out for it and it happened, which is the biggest thing.  People chose to remember.  Streaker was a bit upset that there was no candy as usual, but I reminded her gently that we went, not for the candy, but to show our respect and to honor the people who fought for our freedom.  She didn't stay upset more than a moment.  Most of the kids did receive a small flag to wave and they loved their token of patriotism.  Boogie loved waving it and even waved at the Firemen as they drove by.
     After we left, we went to the Maine Veteran's Memorial Cemetery to visit my grandfather's grave.  My grandfather died of cancer when I was 6 1/2.  I wish I could remember more of him, but I know that he was one of the good men.  He served in Korea and was promoted to Master Sergeant before coming home.  He was a wonderful grandfather who favored his pipe and card games, especially solitaire.  He sang a lot and I remember sitting in his lap as he sang Ten Little Indians.  My older siblings tell of how he would take 5 or 10 minute power naps with almost no warning, he'd just pass out, but I don't remember of it.
     I didn't cry at the hospital when he was leaving us, not that I can remember anyway, and I didn't cry when he passed.  My sorrow came unexpectedly one day while looking at the dollhouse that he had helped make for my sister.  It hit me that he wasn't coming back to finish it, he wasn't coming back at all.  I remember parts of his funeral services.  I remember them folding the flag, and I remember them giving the flag to my grandmother.  I remember the song they played, In the Garden.  I remembered so well where his grave was that years later as a young adult I was able to find it within a few minutes of looking, despite the immense number of graves.  And more than a decade later, I was able to find it again.  There will never be a decade between visits again.  I don't have many memories, but I do remember those things, so I know that his passing impacted me greatly.  We tend to remember those things that have the most emotional impact on us at the time.
     I was so blessed to have him in my life for the time I did.  It saddens me that he was never able to know my children.  He would have loved them so much, at least that's what my mother tells me.  He loved babies.
     So in honor of Memorial Day, we stopped in to show love and to leave our own flags that the girls brought from the parade.  I forgot my debit card at home, so I couldn't grab flowers, but the girls improvised.
     It didn't occur to me until we were home that The Big One had her hat on while we were there, I'm so used to seeing her have it on that I didn't notice it at the time.  Something tells me that Grampy would have wanted her to be herself anyway, and it in no way reflects the amount of respect that she has for soldiers of any kind who serve our country.  She wants to be in the Army herself when she grows up, just like Great Grampy.
     I hope that everyone has had a wonderful day of remembering and honoring their loved ones and hopefully some time spent together with loved ones that are still here.

 
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