Sadly, I have found no words that can truly express the depth of gratitude, love and respect that I have for our Veterans.
To the HEROES & HEROINES, who have given their lives in Service to our Great Country, those who have fought to protect our way of life, and those who are Active Duty, willing to make the Ultimate Sacrifice, to insure that I may continue to live in a country that provides me the freedom to have my own beliefs, to express my ideas, my thoughts and my opinions….From the depths of my Heart & Soul, I THANK YOU!
Melancholy and a deep sense of loss wash over me, as memories flood my mind. The weight of their presence, heavy on my heart. Memorial Day ushers in my somber mood, memories of the child I once was…The day that child died.
Outside my window, I hear laughter, the joyful voices… Summer is here!!!
So long ago, I was part of the fun, the laughter shared with the friends of my childhood… Hope, youthful innocence and happiness. I saw my future as being whatever I wanted it to be, as long as it was filled with the same sense of happiness I felt then!
I was lucky to have spent my childhood growing up in a wonderful neighborhood. The local Elementary School was just a few blocks away, and I was part of a group of friends whom had lived in my neighborhood as long as I had. We were all very close. We went to school together, we played together, we laughed, cried, argued, and loved each other as we faced our lives, together.
We were there for each other through whatever life tossed at us, good times or bad. We never discussed the “hush-hush” things that went on behind closed doors in our respective homes. Instinctively we just knew when one of us needed a hug, or a shoulder to cry on, or someone to scream at for any stupid reason…to blindly vent their frustration, or rage, without fear of retribution.
We used our imaginations to invent all kinds of scenarios,then we acted them out each of us becoming the person we created.
The worst part of the day came when we were called home. Home, that place where we were unable to escape the abuses that many of us endured within.
I suffered greatly within my home. I was tormented, molested physically and emotionally beaten down over and over…I lived in a constant state of fear. There was no “bogey man” under my bed…My “bogey men” were real; My Mother, my brother. I loved them both unconditionally. I was innocent. My home life was “normal”. I had nothing to compare it to, thus I believed this was the way people lived.
I had no sense of self. I was told from a young age that I wasn’t worth a shit, that I was clumsy, that what I had to say did not matter, that I better act right and never let the neighbors see what went on in our house. I was taught from a young age to do what I was told without question,or have the shit beat out of me. I lived for the hours spent at school or playing outside with my friends.
My best friend lived across the street from me and was my lifeline growing up. I used to call her my “Good Side”. She was my greatest strength and my light of hope.
Without saying a word, she offered me hope for my future. She was seven months younger than me, yet wise beyond her years. Back then, we did not speak of abuse, we did not voice our feelings of worthlessness, or our despair. We were just kids, playing outside, happy, imaginitive, mischevious, carefree.
I went to day camp with her over the many summers of our childhood. Later in the Summer,we went to bible camp at a local church. I found a sense of solace there. She and I were both raised Catholic, and I will always remember when we took our First Communion together. We pretended that we were walking to the altar on our wedding day to meet our betrothed…Dressed in our white communion dresses and veils, we felt beautiful….
Fast forward to just before Memorial Day of 1981. We had moved to a new town. I was enrolled in a Junior High School, where I knew noone. I was lonely, I was scared, I felt as though I had to isolate myself from the other kids, in case my shame was obvious to them.
I called my best friend often, and we talked for a while about what was going on in our lives. She was going to school with all of the kids we had grown up with, and felt good about school. She asked me about my school….I lied to her, said it was great blah, blah, blah. The fact of the matter; I was dying inside.
She told me that she was going to a friends swim party with her family on Memorial Day, and invited me to go. My Mom had to work, which meant “No”!
I called my friend, and gave her the bad news. She said “that’s okay, we’ll get together soon”. Those were the last words she ever spoke to me.
She died in a freak accident at the swim party later that day.
My best friend, my hope, my “good side” my light was gone.
I will always remember.
Memorial Day… a day to remember those we have lost, those we have loved, and the difference they made in our lives.