As most people get to enjoy some much needed R&R today on Memorial Day, there are many who are directly impacted by its sentiment.
These individuals have lost fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, uncles, aunts, friends and teammates.
Survivors have to move forward each year with the guilt, trauma, and sadness which consumes them knowing they are alive and their loved one is not.
Parents are not alive to witness their children’s firsts— first words and steps, first day of school, first heartbreak, first laughter, first bike rides, first dances, graduations, marriage, the birth of a first grandchild.
The children of these soldiers lose a huge part of themselves, and must conjure up strength, dignity, tolerance, patience, grace to move ahead in life. An unimaginable strength they are expected to find in themselves.
This is a very tough day for my husband (an Army Special Forces soldier) who has lost many friends— his band of brothers who did not return home from war; or returned with invisible scars that later swallowed them up and took their lives.
Survivor’s guilt is very real.
It is painful and debilitating.
I see it in my husband. In his conscience. In the days leading up to a day other folks celebrate without pain or sorrow, unlike him. The loss is deep inside his soul.
I have to remind myself to tread lightly today. To be respectful and empathetic. To acknowledge the loss and memories of so many gone.
Today, I ask you to tread lightly too. To reach out to an individual survivor, soldier or veteran who know this pain tenfold. Ask them to remember these individuals and tell their story.
Do not forget them. Do not forget their stories.
Do not let the loss of their lives go unknown and unheard.
Celebrate the lives taken too soon.
Wishing you all a beautiful day of remembrance .
Happy Memorial Day!