I will be off to see my family this weekend so you’ll be seeing a lot of Blasts From the Past. I’m heading out to watch my nephew graduate from high school and will be hanging out with one of my very best friends from high school, at least for a few hours. Rumor has it that I have a niece who will be following me back to my house for a week. Hooray! I love company! Now I just need to get our pool up and running. It’s been so rainy and cool here these last 3 weeks I wasn’t sure pool weather would ever come around again.
In the meantime my mom has informed me that she doesn’t like the fact that STBX SIL & MIL have what she considers to be cool names while I’ve only referred to her as Elderly P.I. I pointed out that Jezebel and Tammy Faye are not exactly complimentary names but she didn’t care; she wants something better. I would also like to point out that it was my brother who christened her with that name. I gave her the option of picking her own name but she doesn’t know what she wants. I was thinking “My Mom” is fine all by itself seeing as how I don’t refer to her as anything but “Mom”; I also considered The Rock but didn’t know if that was too similar to Rock Star. If you get a chance feel free to throw out a suggestion.
I hope you all have a wonderful, relaxing weekend. This year I will spend it celebrating my nephew’s graduation but in general Memorial Day weekend is not a time of picnics and potlucks, lakes and pools, and beers and BBQs for us. This is the fourth Memorial Day weekend that we will spend honoring a family member. He was KIA in June of 2012. He had been in Afghanistan for 3 days when he volunteered for a mission and was killed by an IED. He left behind a 23 year old widow whom he had married only 6 months earlier, his two younger siblings, his father, and his mother, who I know struggles even four years later coming to terms with what happened to her oldest child. Her grief is palpable and this weekend is going to be extremely tough for her. I didn’t know him very well because we lived hundreds of miles apart, but his mom is one of my favorite cousins. We now live in the same state and she is the one I have gotten together with a few times since moving here. I ache for the loss of such a promising young man. I ache for his mom and his siblings. I hurt because my beautiful, vivacious cousin hurts.
It would be easy to become self-righteous. THIS is what Memorial Day weekend is all about. It’s not about a long weekend that kicks off summer. It’s not about opening your pool or taking your boat out or drinking all three days. It’s about honoring our fallen. But you know what? I’m glad people are out there celebrating. I’m glad more people think of Memorial Day weekend as a kickoff to the summer than as a heart-wrenching, painful reminder of what has been lost.
I think CF enjoyed the mourning aspect of this holiday. It fed into his narrative of the poor put upon victim, the emotionally traumatized soldier. Here’s the thing- he was proud of the fact that he brought all his men back home alive. He never mentioned losing classmates. As far as I know he never lost anyone close to him and yet he used this as an excuse to mope about and pretend that this was such an important weekend to him.
We planted flags the last two years. The first Memorial Day after I found out about Harley we went to a Memorial Service- me, him, the kids. It was very nice. And very sobering. We took the kids to the cemetery and planted flags at soldier’s graves. Last year we planned on going to the cemetery where so many of my family is buried. The kids and I went alone because he was too busy dealing with his “PTSD” and texting his whore of a cousin. Wow- he’s telling his cousin how much he’d like to fuck her and I’m planting a flag at my cousin’s grave. I guess we have a radically different approach to how we view family.
I don’t celebrate Memorial Day weekend like I used to think of celebrating. I’ll be honest; seeing as how I lived with Captain Grumpy Pants we never did a lot for the holiday anyway. Now I don’t have the heart to celebrate and make lavish plans when I know how difficult it is for my cousin. I will, however, celebrate my nephew’s graduation. He has a lot of exciting possibilities ahead for him and that deserves celebration. I will remember and honor the fallen. And unfortunately, on Monday, the actual observed holiday, I will be driving all day long. For the rest of you though, have fun! Enjoy your time off if you have time off. Drink a beer or a margarita or a Pepsi, for crying out loud! And yes, do pause to remember that there are many people out there that aren’t celebrating; they’re being presented with flags and other awards because they’ve lost someone. Then go out and celebrate some more. Enjoy this weekend. Live! You are alive; don’t take that for granted. There are far too many who lost their lives far too soon.