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Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day 

We made our annual visit to the cemetery today, visiting the graves of my father, grandparents, sister, and uncle. Three generations of my family are buried there. We paused at each one for awhile, and of course the memories flowed.

So what was I thinking this Memorial Day?

I miss them all, what each of them brought to my life. Of course, I miss them all the time, just not today. But today I make the conscious effort to remember them.  I stifled a tear thinking about my sister and how she left us so early. I thought about all the wonderful times I had with my grandparents and my uncle. I pondered my dad and what a wise man he was.

Still, I was gratified that I didn't have to stand there remembering my mother on this Memorial Day. Her recovery from death's door has been quite remarkable and she is getting stronger by the day. 

I don't remember where I read it, and I failed to bookmark it, but I read an article recently about how something of your childhood is lost when you lose your parents. Your parents are the only people on Earth who still see you as that child. Everyone else sees you for what you became, not from how you emerged into this world. I'm 47 years old and my mom still thinks of me as a boy sometimes. I find it alternately irritating and yet comforting. I dread the day I lose it.

I also found myself thinking about a contemporary that passed away a short time ago. I once played a summer league basketball game against Wayman Tisdale. I was a senior and he was a freshman, yet everyone knew this guy was something special, even then. I kept up with his career at the University of Oklahoma and in the N.B.A. After leaving basketball he went back to his first love and had a successful career as a musician. He was a talented guy and from all accounts a very nice man. I didn't know him, but I know people who did and they speak very highly of him. He was several years younger than I am and lost a battle with cancer.  He certainly left a legacy to remember.

Terri, the kids, and I strolled through the cemetery, stopping at familiar names, looking at the sea of flowers. 

I'm glad we take the time to remember. I'm glad that I do.

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