In Memoriam

Memorial Day honors men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Nobody in my family has died as a result of military conflict since the Korean War. I appreciate the men and women who gave their lives for our country, but on this national day of remembrance, my thoughts turn to other losses.

Between them, my four grandparents raised more than twenty children. All of my aunts and uncles married; most had children of their own. Being part of such a huge extended family was perhaps the greatest gift I’ve ever received, but loss came early in my life and often.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is tough. Unfortunately, it’s something we all must do. Sooner or later, everybody dies.

Some losses are harder to  accept than others. Until someone you know passes away, death is an abstract concept. Initial encounters with the grim reaper turn a person’s world upside down. The finality is staggering.

Finding the way forward is a process. Life goes on. Coping is never easy, but with experience, dealing with loss becomes a little less difficult.

Anyone I’ve ever lost lives on in my memories. Things happen all the time to trigger recollections of shared moments — gifts I’ll treasure the rest of my days. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the lives of so many people.

What we did matters less than that we connected. Giving one’s time is the greatest gift of all. Now that he or she is gone, one-on-one moments the two of us shared are gifts I’ll treasure for as long as I live. Memorial Day is a reminder to savor those special moments from the past.


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