A day for remembering. Remembering those who gave their lives for us. Remembering those who dearly miss those who gave their lives for us. Yes. For us. Freedom has a cost and there are people who have been willing to pay it. At the Columbia University graduation I went to for my daughter's friend who is dying from cancer a retired general gave a speech. I was surprised to hear a general talk about the thousands of people grieving. A general talking about the thousands of people living with terrible phsycial and emotional wounds and the people who love and care for them. Even if you are a pacificist you can honor and remember those people.
For some of us every day is memorial day. Every day is a day to spend time rembering our dead. Someone commented on an old post that I have not accepted what life has given me. It said something about sunshine beams coming down from the sky. I have accepted what life has given me. There are sunshine beams coming down from the sky. There are also thunderstorms and hurricanes. I prefer living in the real world. The real world is a palette of mixed emotions. I've never like the idea of pasting on a fake smile and pretending. I also am a fighter. I don't want to accept what life gives me. I want to be sad when I'm sad and angry when I'm angry. That allows me to be happy and full of joy when I'm happy and full of joy.
It's why I keep writing the blog. Some people start and then stop after a year or two. The people I know don't stop missing their loved ones because time passes. They live and love and do many good things. They also remember what loss feels like. They miss a smile, a touch, a private joke. Not accepting life in all its colors would limit me. I don't think that not being all cheerful and positive and "living my bliss" is a bad thing. I think it makes me honestly human. It also gives others the freedom not to hide from me. They can feel safe sharing their sadness as well as their joy with me. Someone once said that friendship means something different to me than to a lot of people. I don't know if that's true or not...but to me friendship means being there for each other and accepting people where they are. I only judge cruelty and I can get awfully impatient with an unwillingness to take the time to understand.
Someone wanted me to be peaceful. I don't want to be peaceful. There is too much unhappiness in the world. I don't want to take it for granted. I want to be motivated to look at what is unpleasant and when I can, do small things to help. If I can't help I want at least to acknowledge that there are people who suffer. Not because they choose to. Some people do choose suffering. However, others suffer because no matter how hard they try life is difficult for them.
I'm working hard to change. I'm working hard to be someone Artie would be proud of. The funny thing about that is that I already am. He always loves me just the way I am. I measure my success in my relationships with others. Not everyone likes me - but those that do are very special people - and they like me as I am - because they know who I am. I'm not hiding.
I like keeping Artie alive through telling his story, telling our story. I like being in the past and the present at the same time. I like that I keep searching and trying. I am having someone deep clean my apartment while I am visiting my daughter and granddaughter so I only have 2 pictures of Artie out. That's okay. Remembering is okay. Living is okay. Confusion is okay.
I guess that's what I have to offer. Complexity. If you want to be told a way to be happy all the time I'm not the person to come to. If you want to be told that life is sometimes easy, sometimes difficult but there are ways to have more and more happy, alive moments strung together - that's the path I'm on. Without my living husband. With my dead husband. Remembering and honoring him and all the living and the dead today and every day. Being grateful for my story and all of your stories. Being grateful for those of you who can have a good cry so that you can have a good laugh.
For all of those who have been killed or wounded - to all of those who love them - this is a weekend to say thank you. Freedom comes at a price. I thank those throughout history who have paid that price...I will let others decide who was just and who was unjust. For all the horrors in the world - there are also many blessings. That's what I wish for people - that their genuine blessings far outnumber their horrors. That is different than cheapening blessings by making everything become one.
Memorial Day. We all deserve a memorial. The best memorial is in the heart of someone who knew us, loves us, and doesn't think moving on means forgetting. xo
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