We have done a lot of healing since our first Memorial Day last year and we still have a lot of healing and learning to do. On days like today, it's always hard to believe that this is the life we are living now. I wanted to touch base on the importance and individualized meaning of Memorial Day for so many families. I read through a couple other blogs on Memorial Day and what it means to those family's who have lost a loved one in war or post war. Sometimes I wonder if there is ever a post war. Reading through these other words really brings some perspective of how our country recognizes Memorial Day. Josh and I would have conversations about phrases like, "Happy Memorial Day" or any kind of sense of celebration. In a way it is. It is a celebration of life and freedom given us to by those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. It also isn't "happy". I always struggled with saying, "Happy Memorial Day" myself, it didn't seem fitting or even appropriate. Now, though, I can say that I really don't care how it's acknowledged, as long as it is. However you refer to this day, refer to it in honor. That's all I want for my husband, is to be honored, remembered for his courage; and all his fallen comrades that he lost during war and the memories of their trivial past that haunted him. Celebrate your freedom, celebrate the life lost, but just remember and honor. Save an extra seat at your picnic table, throw the rod into the lake for those who can't, say a prayer, make a toast, write a note, visit a grave, whatever you do, enjoy your freedom and make a small honor.
As my family begins to find new traditions for Memorial Day, we too will be celebrating Josh's life, as we do every day, but on this day we celebrate with thousands more. We will visit Josh's grave again, we will lay him the most beautiful flowers we can find (hopefully some poppies), we will spend time together with his children, fishing (as he liked to), having a bar-be-que (as he would have wanted), and saving him a seat, remembering his voice, laughter, and telling our favorite stories of Josh. We may never have normal again but we continue to search for it, we will continue to honor our grief with it. This is the long way I have come. I am really grateful for the support the children and I have received. There have been many close followers to my blog, organization, on social media etc. I cannot express how much gratitude I have for the way you all are honoring my husband. Please keep him in mind on this day, for all that he did, and all that he was.
I want to close this short sentiment with some special and intimate moments. When I selected the poem for Josh's memorial services I chose one titled, "Success" - I will share this poem, but I want to reference the background. The poem itself was referenced from an essay written by Bessie Stanley that was published in the Emporia Gazette of Emporia Kansas in 1905 for a winning contest to define "Success". Her poem went on to be syndicated and republished in many great books.
“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether by an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who has always looked for the best in others and given the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.”