In Remembrance

Memorial Day1Cemeteries look beautiful this time of year with decorated graves including flowers, wreaths, balloons and flags adding color and variety to the area. I appreciate having a holiday dedicated to the remembrance of those who have passed and have changed our lives for the better. In honor of Memorial Day, I like to post an article by someone who recently lost a loved one. This year Peggy Martin shared her Tender Mercies amid the challenge of losing her husband of forty-nine years. Her ability to recognize the blessings during this hard time is inspiring. Remembering the purpose of this holiday is to show respect and reverence for those who lost their lives in the U.S. military, I’ve found three thoughts worth sharing.

One of my favorite quotes by Carl Jung, “That which is most personal is most universal.”

This weekend as we honored those who have passed, I thought about the how and why we lost our loved one, is most personal. However, the grief felt with that loss is most universal.

I’ve included five of my favorite quotes concerning grief.

And one of my favorite songs

What’s your favorite quote or thought concerning Memorial Day, veterans, death and grief?

Relating Articles:

Twelve Things I’ve Learned About Grief

Blessings From Grief

Twenty Things to Know About Grief

A Better Today

Memorial DayFor decades, Decoration Day was observed on May 30. Businesses closed their doors to honor and decorate the graves of the American soldiers who had lost their lives in battle. It wasn’t until 1971 when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act passed, declaring Memorial Day to be observed on the last Monday in May in order to create a three-day weekend to honor our fallen soldiers. While the federal holiday isn’t about the start of summer, it has evolved into that over the past forty-five years.

May is also the month of graduation for many students and for many more it’s the end of a school year which adds to the excitement for the beginning of summer. The anticipation for summer activities and vacation brings some level of stress to most families and when you have a family member with special needs, the anxiety level may increase. Physical, mental and financial limitations can bring disappointment and frustrations when family time doesn’t work out the way we’d hoped.

Often the demands and responsibilities weigh heavily on just one person. Possibly without even realizing it, all of the caregiver’s attention and energy is directed on the one person who seems to have the most needs. However, as Christine reminded us in Laura’s Story, Part 7, there are others who need our care and devotion. As a caregiver, how can you meet the needs of the one with disabilities and not neglect your other loved ones? It’s a very difficult balancing act.

My children had a wise elementary school counselor who was concerned about their needs not being met after our tragic car accident. She recommended I spend some one-on-one time with each child weekly. Following her advice, I took turns taking one child out for ice-cream, bowling or some other activity while the other child stayed home with Mark for an hour or two. At the time, it seemed like a lot of effort on my part, not because I didn’t want to be with them, but I worried about Mark and the child left at home. Although I regret not being able to be more carefree with my children, I treasure the memories of the one-on-one time I spent with them.

In Laura’s Story, Part 6, Christine reminisces about their trip to Disneyland and another fun day at the local amusement park, Lagoon. This article reminded me of the importance of taking time to play with our families. As a caregiver it’s easy to feel like you don’t have the time or the money to do so. However, good memories are important for building a strong family, one that can withstand hardships.

Including Mark, even with his limitations, we tried to continue our summer traditions of barbeques, camping, roasting marshmallows over a campfire and a summer day trip to Lagoon with our kids. We also took a few extended trips over the years to Washington and Arkansas to visit parents, sisters and grandparents. Every outing was much harder and required more planning with Mark’s disabilities. I remember the stress of preparing to leave the house and feeling like my energy was completely drained when returning home from these family activities. However, my efforts are rewarded by good memories that far out-weigh the difficulties. Now that our kids are grown, I cherish those times more than I thought possible. I now realize the benefits of taking a break from our everyday responsibilities and the impact it had on our family’s well-being.

Memorial DayMemorial Weekend is more than looking forward to the start of summer and creating family memories. It’s a time to remember those who gave the ultimate gift. In their honor we should pursue peace and happiness. There is no better place to start than within our own families and building meaningful experiences.

Thank you to all the American military who died in wars fought for our freedoms so we could have a better today and tomorrow.

Please feel free to add any soldier remembrances or ways you’ve created worthwhile family memories.

Heaven Can’t Wait

Today’s guest author is my sister who shared the opportunity with her husband, Klint, in caring for his mother for more than twelve years. Thank you Rosanne for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this Memorial Day weekend.

Written by, Rosanne Day

This Memorial Day we have one more grave to visit. These travels are actually a walk down memory lane. I have spoken and unspoken remembrances along with feelings, which are buried, not in the grave, but embedded deep inside my soul. Father in Heaven blessed our lives with memory, which contains our loved ones who have passed on. Any representation to preserve their memory is cherished. We write down their quotations, retell their stories, compile books, and even build monuments to their name. In commemoration each year we set aside a day for remembrance – Memorial Day.

Just the other day I was asked, “How are you doing since the recent passing of your Mother?”

I could answer with a smile, “I am doing just fine.  It has been an easy transition.”

With due respect for any child who has lost a Mother, I too, hold her fond remembrance close to my heart.  I too, miss her physical presence.  I too, have plenty of things missing now that she is gone. But just how far away is she really? I believe the spirit world is not out in some remote part of the great cosmos, but is right here on earth.  The spirits of our departed loved ones are in reality among us. We are here and they are there. What separates us now? What clouds our view? I believe it’s not a wall, but a thin veil which can be penetrated when God deems it necessary. I believe just beyond this veil our loved ones, now departed, can still know and understand our thoughts, feelings and motions. I believe on the other side of the veil they still may be working with us, or should I say for us.

Since the passing of our mother, Arlette Day, I have felt this assurance . . . she is not far away and still interested in my well-being. She was my career mentor for nearly 30 years. During this time she trained me to run our family music business, which she founded. She helped raise my children, as all good mothers do, with their years of wisdom. She lived with us for the past 12 1/2 years until, as she would put it, she “took off to the other side.” She passed away at age 98 1/2 That’s a long time to have her good influence in my life.

Mom’s guidance is still with me, yet in another form. She is still inspiring, prompting and motivating me in many happy ways. It’s hard to explain, but my business work load is lighter, even though I still do the same things, I can now do them much quicker. I understand complex problems more clearly. My contacts with other people are more meaningful and I can hear what they meant to say. My organizing is more thorough. I am completing tasks, which have been undone for years. My confidence is stronger. My decisions are quicker. Challenges in my life, which I thought were going to be nearly impossible, have already come to a conclusion and have been resolved.

Seeing Mom suffer with her cancerous tumor, which grew daily in her sinus, was difficult indeed. One night was particularly hard on Mom. I did not know it at first. I was in a deep sleep before the birds began to sing. I saw with my spiritual eyes, a gentle, kind man, walk softly to my bedside as I slept. He never touched me, but he reached under my bed covers and pulled out the pillow I always sleep with between my legs. This woke me up. He was gone. I saw the pillow on the floor. A light was on, so I went to check it out. I found Mom struggling to get out of bed, anxious and nervous about something. I asked her, ” Who turned on the lamp by her bedside?” She hadn’t had the strength to reach it for many months. She said, “Yes, it was hard, but I struggled until I managed to turn it on.”

After taking her to the restroom and back again, she told me she had not slept a wink. This horrible night of anxiety caused her to call out in her mind (because she did not want to awake us) for Dad, now her deceased husband, to come take her home.

It wasn’t her time to go just yet. However, he still did answer her call and came to her aid through me. Had I seen his face I would have recognized him. However, his gentle ways did revealed himself to me, as I’ve thought back on this experience. Yes, the veil is very thin at times.

She did “take off” a few days later and I felt the rejoicing beyond the veil. I could not cry. In fact, I felt more like dancing with those on the other side. She passed away at 10:10 p.m. While we waited for the mortician, I wrote this poem on that sacred night and emailed it just after midnight to my children and other family members to announce her passing. I’ve worked on it a little more for this blog and changed it some for a slightly better read – I hope.

Heaven Can’t Wait

 

 Heaven came to earth this sacred night
To pick up our dear angel mother.
She blew us a kiss as she took flight
On wings of songs herald by others.

 

 She wasn’t alone, nor aimlessly roam,
Though our arms are empty to be sure.
She sailed away, being escorted home
To that place on “Glad Paradise” shore.

 

 Heaven can’t wait, so they formed in a line,
Standing ready to hold her most dear.
Prepared at the coastline, knowing it’s time,
Eagerly waiting to cheer, “She’s here.”

 

 Privileged for years, 98 was the count,
Receiving her guidance face to face,
Flowing from her was God’s heavenly fount
Pouring generously out to our place.

 

 Sufferings they come and sufferings they go,
With each ebb flow’s purpose to fulfill.
Paddlin’ with endurance strengthens the row,
God’s currents further stretch us still.

 

 God is the one calling down as you ride,
“You can do it!  Keep paddlin’ up stream.
Enduring the tide which lengthens your stride
Brings you rest in Heaven’s bright beam.”

 

 Heaven can’t wait to receive such a date,
Appointed to catch those weary arms
Which paddled through storms until very late.
Good news! Come rest!  Refresh your life’s charms!