Category Archives: Armed Forces

It’s been a while …

since my last blog post. 

Since last time, satan has reared his ugly head and life has given me a bonified black eye, busted lip, bruised rib, and all around beating.

My mom, who I depend on way more than a nearly 50-year old (ok, 47 in two weeks, but still) woman should, has been ill.

In the hospital, taken by an ambulance, ill.

My dad, who leans heavily on my mom, has been beside himself.

My dearest friend has been given (by mere mortals) six months to live.

It has been a trying month.

First off, my mom is home, well and feeling quite herself. 

My dad, an Air Force Veteran (whom we should all be applauding today for his service to the USAF) is better because my mom is feeling better.

It brings a surprising revelation to light.

While this would distress and hurt me beyond comprehension, I have this hope they would die, in their sleep, at the same time.

As awful as this may sound to some, I’d rather mourn them both at the same time than try to handle one without the other.

I can’t frankly speak for my sister, but wonder if she wouldn’t agree.

If that isn’t possible, I hope my dad, my hero and advocate goes first, because I cannot fathom him without my mom.

Mom would miss dad terribly, but she’s strong, and would survive.

Maybe I’m more crazy than I imagined, but I can handle Mom’s tears more easily than Dad’s.

I honestly don’t know how I would deal with him if he had to live without her.

As for my dearest friend, who is battling cancer, I advised her, as I do everyone, to live every day as if it’s the very last one.

Nobody, but nobody has the promise to live further than the moment they are in.

I know where I’m going when I’m gone from this world, so dying doesn’t scare me.

Living, however, without the people who love and understand me, gives me pause.

If that sounds selfish, it’s because it is. 

I thought I’d grow old and watch, with my husband I dearly loved, grandchildren playing in the yard.

Then, I came home one day, and out of the clear, blue sky, found him as dead as Moses.

No warning. No goodbye.  Just gone.

There’s no promise of life, to any of us, past the single moment we find ourselves living in.

If one doesn’t intend to live life as it happens, they forfeit their right to complain when it’s over, or nearly over.

You can quote me on that.

Right now, in this moment, is all I am certain of.

It is all any of us can be certain of.

This moment.

This breath.

This heartbeat.

Each day, if it doesn’t mean something, is wasted.

I say this to family, friends, former friends that I miss with an intensity that embarassess me, and though I can’t think of any specifically, my enemies.

I don’t think I have any absolute enemies.  If I do, they’ve been mighty quiet about it, and I forgive them anyway, knocking out the one leg they, were they real, had to stand on.

That’s good, though, in my way of thinking.  Who, when they have life to contend with, need enemies to muddy up the mess further.

And yet, as I often do, digress.

Now is the only thing that matters.

Grab on or be left behind.

Those are, in actuality, the only two choices.

As Shakespeare said (though he may have meant it differently as words in his day were perplexing, they pretty much say the same thing). To be or not to be … that is the question.

I choose to be, even when it hurts, is painful, annoying, hurtful, betraying or joyous.

I choose to give it everything I have, be whatever I can be and love, even those who don’t love me, unconditionally. 

Be it joyous, angry, confused, happy, sad, contemplative or any number of emotionally relevant states, with bright lights, awesome auroras, sleepless nights and flying debris; I’m there, every day, all the way.

I know who I am and if I die before morning, I know where I’ll find myself.

I love you all, even when you’re unloveable, just as you do me.

We, though we are all in the image of God, are, intrinsically human.

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When I think of Memorial Day …

I think of my dad, specifically his dog tags and the photograph of him in his Air Force uniform.  So young, so very young.  So handsome and full of possibilities, hopes, dreams and wishes.

I can’t really explain it, but each time I look at it, I want, more than anything else, to weep … for  him, for others, for things I don’t understand.  And many times I have done just that.

Wept like there would be no tomorrow.

I think of the privileges I am afforded and how many of them were dependent upon men and women like him.

I think of Mr. Salley, who fought on the beaches of Normandy, France.  He, who, with tears in his aged eyes, told me his story.  It was horrific, the things he related … the tragedies, the loss, the hurt and the fears that he faced and then, through the sheer necessity to survive, overcame as best he could.

But the memories remained, always remained, forever haunting him.  I know this because he told me so.

The death he saw, felt and experienced …

The pain and anguish of each tear that fell from his old and wizened eyes struck me with devastating clarity.  I cried, unashamedly, with him as it broke my heart to hear it.

But I needed to hear it.  Needed to feel it.  Needed to understand the depth of the sacrifice.

I was, in that single moment, forever changed.

He revisited Normandy a few years back and brought me some sand from the beach on which he fought.

I am thankful beyond measure that I had the chance to hear his story and know the man behind the memories before he passed away.

The sand is one of my most treasured possessions.

That and my dad’s dog tags.

I would give up every photograph I have ever taken, every sunrise I’ve ever witnessed, every mountain peak on which I have ever stood simply to keep these two things in my possession.

I remember my friends who have served, who still serve.  Who risk everything they hold dear for strangers; faces they will never see.

It never ceases to amaze me how much people are willing to sacrifice for their country, their loved ones, their way of life, our future and the freedoms that we so blithely take for granted.

I remember them as Memorial Day looms in the next few hours.  I remember their faces, their smile, their laughter, their stories.

I remember their pride in what they have had a part in preserving and again, the memories they carry within themselves.

Memories no one should have to relive; burdens no one should have to carry.

It shames me to think that I too often forget to remember them.  I will try harder.

They gave everything so that we could have the one, most wonderful thing there ever was to have.

Freedom.

God Bless America.

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