To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Never Enough

When a soul that has touched your heart dies, it leaves a scar.  Much like when two teenagers carve into a picnic table, the scar leaves a mark saying, “I was here.  I was loved.”  The scar is not visible to the naked eye, but is forever embedded into the fabric of your soul.  At first the numbness kicks in.  You think about what needs to be done.  Who needs to be contacted?  What arrangements need to be made?  Then, when you’re alone, and it’s quiet, it hits you.  You will never again hear their voice, touch their skin, see their smile, be mad at them for not replacing the toilet paper roll when they were the last one to use it. 

And you cry.

Perhaps as you cry, you look at a picture.  You remember their warmth, laughter, intelligence, and stubbornness.  You realize then, there will never be enough.

Never enough pictures of them for you to look at.  Never enough memory to hold all of the stories they told you, all the advice they gave. You look at your pictures, a few cards, maybe some clothes’, and you think, “This is not enough.” 

That is when the “Not Fair” part of your brain kicks in.  It’s not fair that they died.  It’s not fair that other people have their loved ones, and you don’t have yours.  It’s not fair when you look at their favorite sweatshirt and know they will never wear it again.  It’s not fair when the phone rings and the little voice in your head thinks it’s your loved one, only for it to be a solicitor to which you go off the handle on, because you don’t want anyone to know you were foolish enough to expect a call from a dead person. 

Soon you’re angry.  You’re angry the person had the nerve to die.  That they left you here without them.  How exactly are we supposed to go on without them?  You yell or snap at friends who have the nerve to say, “I’m sorry for your loss.” Really? They are sorry for what exactly? They are sorry someone you loved died? Or they are sorry that you’re hurting because someone you loved died.  Because being sorry doesn’t take away the fact you still have time with your loved one, and I don’t.  How exactly does saying sorry mend the torrential hole in the heart caused by this death?  Oh wait…. It doesn’t.

Eventually you feel guilty.  Guilty that you didn’t spend enough time with them when they were here.  Guilty that you wouldn’t eat at their favorite restaurant… one more time.  Guilty that you yelled at them when they forgot to take the garbage out.  Guilty that maybe you didn’t listen enough, care enough, love them enough, laugh enough, that you didn’t do everything you could at the end.  You feel guilty that you weren’t enough, when they needed you most.

Everyone at some time will experience death carving scars on their souls.  Everyone will have empty holes in their hearts in the shape of their loved one.  How does one get through such pain? Through Honor.  Honoring the memory of their loved one.  Telling stories, remembering, laughing, and loving.  Sometimes honor hurts, but eventually it gets easier. 

May 31st is Memorial Day, a day which should be reserved for honor, in all of its definitions.  A day for everyone- civilian, military, immigrants, ALL UNITED STATES CITIZENS no matter how new to this world, or how experienced in age, should honor those brave men and women who fought for our country, and died.  I can guarantee their families wish for more pictures, more memories, more smiles, more laughter, more hugs, more kisses than what they have, so honor them, and their sacrifices for you.

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