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Memorial-izing Our Memories

This Memorial Day weekend will forever be seared into my heart and mind for a couple of reasons.

1) A young soldier (whom I recall having in my Sunday School class when he was in 3rd/4th grade) spoke about a recent ambush in Afghanistan. His platoon was attacked, he was wounded, and as he was the platoon leader, it was his job to get his men out of harms’ way before any of them were killed. And he did. Now he is on medical leave until his wounds have healed.

As I listened to him speak, I felt a mother’s pride well up in my heart. His mom died less than a year ago to cancer, so my guess is that a lot of women in the audience were feeling exactly what I was as we listened to his story.

I was so proud of him and so thankful that he has acted upon the calling in his heart to serve and protect our country. It was unforgettable hearing him speak of facing death and in a heartbeat he forgot his own safety so that his men would have a chance to escape. He reminded us that most of us will never know how we’ll react in a life and death situation. But he knows…and he passed the test.

2)My mom’s sister (my aunt) passed away on this Memorial Day weekend. Though she’d been ill for a long time, when death arrives it’s still a hard and difficult journey to take with someone you love.

I spent the weekend remembering my aunt and her life. I recalled the broken home she’d grown up in way before divorce was commonplace in our country. I thought about the hurt she had experienced at different junctures in her life and how it shaped her (how it shapes all of us.)

Then I considered how my cousins will view life without their mom as part of it. It just made me sad and sorrowful all at once.

Mostly though, I considered how one life faced death in the most violent of circumstances and survived while another life faced death passively, quietly, and then just slipped away.

In both situations, there was loss and lots of attending emotions. I’m sure our young soldier friend thought about his mom as he was recovering in the hospital in Germany. Missing her. Wanting to talk to her, tell her what he’d just been through.

And now my family, my mom, my cousins, are missing an aunt, a sister, a mom…wanting to relive special moments or share something important.

Made me so glad we have memories.
Minds that recall the good and the bad
.

In some fascinating way, these minds of ours find a way to memorial-ize our memories.

What a comfort.
What a consolation
.

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