Memories. They can be wonderful. They can be terrible. Tomorrow is Memorial day. A day to remember. We will pause as Americans to remember and give thanks for all who now serve or have served in the armed forces. We will honor those who gave their lives in that service.
Parents of our servicemen/women have both wonderful and terrible memories of the things their child has experienced. I think I have something in common with them. We both have memories we treasure and memories we wish we could forget. Some have had their children return home maimed for life. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice – their children’s lives. Both of us had no choice. We had to accept what life gave us. When that includes loss and grief, we want to forget. We want to deny and run away from the pain.
As parents in pain because of our children’s destructive choices, there are some things we must not forget.
First, we must not forget to feel our feelings. We tend to deny or run away from overwhelming emotions. It’s too hard. It’s too frightening. We must find a way to stand strong and face them. Our child may still be alive, but we are grieving. We are grieving the loss of the dreams we had for them. By facing this pain it loses some of its devastating power over us. We find peace. We find freedom.
Second, we must not forget the good memories we had with them. Dear mom or dad, no matter how bad things are with your son or daughter today it wasn’t always that way. I want to encourage you to pause — take a few minutes to remember the good years you had with them. There were good times. It hasn’t all been bad. It just feels like it. There is a lot to remember and give thanks for.
So tonight or tomorrow pause and remember. Get out your old photo albums and home videos. Jog your memory. Use them to help you remember better times. Have your own Memorial Day (and be sure to give thanks). Remember the fun, the laughter, the love. The “remembering” may hurt and re-open some wounds. There will probably be a few tears shed, a few sighs of longing for what was. But try not to get stuck there. Remembering just might bring you some healing. There were so many precious moments . . . so many things to be thankful for . . . for what you did have with them . . . for what they added to your life.
Yes, things have changed, but hold on to your loving memories. They are a gift.
I thank you God for the many good, loving memories we shared and for the ability to remember. I don’t have Alzheimer’s yet! Although sometimes I wonder! :o)