Memorial Day is upon us yet again. For so many, it is a day off work to kick off the summer. For a few of us, it is a reminder of the ones we have lost.
It has been 10 years, and I still remember the morning that changed my life with perfect clarity. My husband woke me up with a kiss and told me he loved me before he left for work at o’ dark thirty (3:30 am). I think I mumbled something completely incoherent back. I hope he knew I was trying to say I love you too. Shortly after 8 am, I answered my door to a group of his co-workers. He had died in a single vehicle collision with the pop-up barrier at base.
And just like that, I was living out my biggest fear. As a military spouse, you often have talks about what to do if you should lose your spouse. Our wedding was almost postponed a number of times as his name was always at the top of the deployment list. I am so thankful for all those who volunteered to deploy so he didn’t need to miss our big day.
My husband had decided to exit the military early and was in the middle of out-processing when his accident happened. I thought that the risk was over, that I wouldn’t have to face a future without him. How quickly the rug can be pulled out from under you.
For me, Memorial Day is not a day of fun in the sun. It is a day that I spend reflecting on how much my life has changed. Thinking about the man who would lay down his life for me, his brothers and sisters in arms, and his country. Remembering the future we had planned that never was. I think about those who have served and lost those who served along side of them. I think about all of the other families, spouses, parents, and kids who will never see their loved one again this side of heaven. I think of the freedoms I enjoy because of their sacrifice.
So, as you enjoy the official kickoff to summer, take a minute to remember that for some, Memorial Day is a reminder that life is short, and that we never know what pain the people around us are carrying with them. Stay safe and remember those who have sacrificed for all.