Friday, May 23, 2014

Faithful Friday: Remember Me

Memorial weekend has various definitions for people.  Some see it as the launch of summer.  An extra long weekend.  An opportunity to catch up with family and friends to cook and hang out.  Time for a household project.  

For many Americans, it is a time of patriotic remembrance and humble gratitude for the ultimate service of our armed forces. (Thank you... Thank you... Thank you.)

And for anyone missing a loved one, Memorial Day weekend can also be a time of grief.  A time of remembering those now gone from this earth.

For us, it is a bittersweet mixture of all.

Years and years ago, as a little girl, I can remember the day being spent in the car surrounded by flowers.  With my Aunt and Grandma, we'd visit numerous graves the entire day, dusting off and sprucing up their sites.  In my shorts, I'd be sticky from the heat, legs itching from walking in and out of grassy areas.  Most of those graves contained memories I'd never experienced, as I didn't know the names etched in stone.  But I recall the loving care my family took for each of their graves - and even as a little girl - I knew that meant they mattered.

In years past, Memorial weekend was a holiday I longed for.  In a career that had me working most weekends of the summer, I was eager for a long stretch of time with the family.  It included picnics and cookouts, time fishing or swimming, and lots of relaxing.

For the past several years, it has been a working holiday, as our hometown's annual festival coincides.  We took the opportunity to launch our first fundraiser for Austin's scholarship fund, using the anticipated crowd to boost our support.  It helped that the fire department, for which my husband led as chief, was in the middle of the activities and made for the perfect spot.  And it just seemed fitting to remember Austin on such a symbolic holiday weekend in that way.

This year, our family again sees changes.  With Tim no longer tied to the department, we have plans to get away and enjoy the lake.  Time together on the water is something we enjoy and it brings us peace.  The weather looks to be beautiful and Tim has eagerly been prepping the boat so here's hoping we have fun, stay safe, and catch lots of fish!

It goes without saying we'll pause to remember Austin.  We don't need a holiday to think of him, as he's in our hearts every single day.  I did visit his grave yesterday and freshen his flowers.  Perhaps it is different for every parent, but I've never really found comfort there.  For one, it is a place no momma ever wants to have to go to see her child.  For another, I know Austin is not really there.  But out of respect and love for him, I try to keep his site nice and change his flowers with every season.

 "Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: 
and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it." - Ecclesiastes 12:7 

I left his grave yesterday upset, not just in having to visit him there but, mostly because the grounds (even after six seasons) are still bare.  Even though we have little to no control over the quality of lawn care at this facility, it still feels like my responsibility.  And that it looks like we, his parents, don't care.  

Coming home to load the photo and vent, I noticed the rainbow surrounding his feet and where I stood.  I couldn't help but feel that was Austin's reminder he was shining down on us.  And as another dear friend posted, perhaps his ground is worn because of so many visits from others.  I'll cling to those more joyful thoughts than what the angry momma bear inside me is thinking...

If your time includes a visit to graves of those you mourn, pause and remember the good moments in between the tears.  Take a favorite memory or two home with you.  

I thank my God every time I remember you. -Philippians 1:3

No matter where this holiday weekend finds you, I wish you much peace, family, freedom, fun and most of all joy. Soak up the "unofficial start of summer" and enjoy the sunshine.


Anna Whiston-Donaldson said...

XOXOXO this weekend and always.

Em said...

Would you be able to sprinkle grass seed there without stepping on toes?

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