Tomorrow is Memorial Day. A federal holiday that originated in the US after the American Civil War to honor the fallen soldiers of that war. As the years passed it became a more expansive holiday, including fallen heroes of all wars and eventually a day of remembrance for all the loved ones we have lost. Of course, for those of us who have suffered intense, close loss every day is "memorial" day.
All the news stations are featuring special segments linked to tomorrow's holiday, most of them highlighting our military service men and women, and their families. As one program closed this morning, they ran a video montage of soldiers and their families...with one of your favorite songs as background music. Yep. Zac Brown Band's "Chicken Fried"! Dadda and I made sure to explain to The Pickle just how special this song is, and we helped him bop and groove while the music played. The moment brought everything full circle in Momma's brain.
Navigating Year Two without you, while also experiencing all the new milestones with your little brother, has been confusing, wonderful, awful, interesting, and hopeful. To introduce him to the shows you loved, to feed him the sweet potatoes you couldn't get enough of, to read him some of your favorite stories...reawakens so many delightful memories. Forgotten little moments. And Momma has come to realize, the little moments are the ones that sustain us. The ones that, in retrospect, are the most important.
To that end, Dadda and I are taking care to document every moment with Pickle. Even more than we did with you, if you can believe it. And, Momma is also making sure Pickle has his own set of "new" experiences. Toys that are his, just his. Stories and books that are specific to him. He will forever live with the presence of you in his life, but he will not live in your shadow.
US Vice-President Joe Biden gave a moving speech yesterday in honor of Memorial Day. The theme was rooted in his own loss - the loss of a wife a daughter 40 years ago in a car accident. He acknowledged how easy it is to WANT to give up on life after suffering so tremendous a loss. How easy it would be to commit suicide, or ever get out of bed again. But, it is our duty, our responsibility to get back up, to hold our faces to the sun, to find hope and smiles. To live in honor of - and TO honor - the children and spouses we have said "farewell" to far too soon. To show them how much better they made us and the world. To give them a reason to smile from heaven, and send us butterflies and froggies and wind to blow our pinwheels and wind chimes. Because, someday soon, we will see them again.
To quote the necklace Dadda gave me after The Pickle was born - "Someday we will all fly together."
Peanut, I hope we make you proud. I hope our actions give you a reason to beam your sunshine smile across heaven. I hope you know how much we miss you. I hope you realize my love for you continues to grow, day by day. How much? To the mooooooooon and back!
|The Froggy statue made by Peanut's class at school. It now sits in their Butterfly Garden.|
|Every child in his class added their fingerprints to Froggy's back.|