this moment

This moment.

So many feels right now as I capture this moment. I’m not the only one either.

This moment we can’t help but be even more thankful for. This moment we wish that we could have shared with more…side eye at some who might not have bothered to check and perhaps respond to text messages. This moment that just five months ago might not have been possible. This moment that will not be a possibility for a dear, old friend whom we have known for as long as we all have been much too young people having babies. This moment we shake our head in shock that someone we share so much history with is gone. This moment we wonder why his family and why not ours. This moment we cry and share our love because life is just too tenuous. This moment we pray for our dear friend, his amazing wife and his wonderful children.

This moment. This moment we give thanks. This moment we celebrate.

raw deals and their beautiful disasters

The Fourth arrived and exited as loudly as it often does every year and it was good.

I said it was good.

It was.

It was good.

Of course I still allowed myself a little bit of melancholy because I do sometimes.

My little brother he will always be and like every other person out there who has lost a sibling, I am more than entitled to miss him. He would have been 52 on July 4th but he will forever be 41 just as he will forever be my broken little brother who looked for approval that was never going to come…at least from those he sought after. In retrospect I try not to focus on the raw deal that was most of his life because it was mine too and raw deals seem to run in the family. Sadly, even to the next generation.

My sister’s children  have lived through more than their fair share of raw too. Given that which Val tried to survive through and the choices she made, it’s hard not to be surprised. But her daughter, my niece, proved to be a survivor surviving really the only way one does survive and thrive and that is to break away and cut the ties. My nephew, on the other hand, struggles not to repeat his mother’s life…and ends up repeating it anyway because family ties that chafe and rub your heart as raw as ours have done are pretty hard to cut away, at least not without some pain and damage. Some of us just can’t handle that pain I guess. I know Randy could not. Neither could Val. And, it seems, neither is her son able to right now. His sister, so much like me, tries to help, tries to fix and, like me so many times before, is hurt in the process. Right now, she is hurting a lot because it’s hard to watch her own brother, the one who was the person she practiced on, the person who taught her about fairness and cooperation and kindness and caring, quite often the hard way is hurting and lost to her in a way that she can not fix. I know this hurt. I know it too well times three…perhaps times four. But all I can do is remind her that all that she can really do is just love him…even if it means loving him at arms length, or even miles and miles length because she deserves to heal and her son deserves so much more…much, much more than than the raw deals we have survived.

So, together, although separated by 3,000 miles, we cry a little for the little boys lost that are our brothers…and pray that her brother will, like us both, survive. It’s all that we can do.

I also felt some sadness for my own daughter and her friends. When you’re 21 or 22, it’s hard to imagine that you’ll be going to a funeral for a friend, a classmate but it sometimes happens. I met her friend, Josh, just two days before he died. Standing in line with Abby, Jodie and Daniel to see Inside Out (go see this movie), I hear, “Hello Abigael!” Naturally, I turn as Abby does because I am the only one who calls her Abigael and I must see who is this other person who calls her Abigael. Abby introduces me to a young man with laughing eyes and a warm smile telling me that this is her friend, Josh.

We shake hands and laugh a little together, Josh and I, because we are the only people who call Abby Abigael. Abby and Josh talk a little bit more but soon wave their goodbyes because, popcorn and snacks in hand, we are ready to go see Inside Out while Josh is seeing another movie that night. It’s hard to imagine someone as engaging as this young man seemed that night would be hiding so much pain behind those laughing eyes and warm smile as his but apparently there was much pain; enough pain that he would take his own life. So now his young friends gather at “the Hook” to remember and celebrate their friend, Josh and tomorrow will bury him. And I find myself sad again. Sad for the end of this young man’s life. Sad for his friends. Sad for his family.

Three men. Three beautiful, young men.

All it takes is a beautiful fake smile to hide an injured soul and they’ll never know how broken you really are.

and this too

And this too I’m going to leave here.

history can’t be a sword to justify injustice or a shield against progress. It must be a manual for how to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, how to break the cycle, a roadway toward a better world. He knew that the path of grace involves an open mind. But more importantly, an open heart. ~ President Barack Obama eulogizing the Reverend Clementa Pinckney

“see you sooner”

Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring veterans. It’s honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that’s a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It’s a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it.

~ Pete Hegseth

Years ago my Great Uncle Ernie said to me, almost verbatim, the same thing. I was thanking him, a decorated WWII 1st Lieutenant, pilot and POW, for his service and wishing him a “happy Memorial Day”. Truly I can not be more proud for his service, my Grandpap as a Navy Seabee, my father’s and step-dad’s service in the Navy and Air Force, my father in law service in the Coast Guard, my Uncle fighting as a Marine in Vietnam and my brothers’ service in the Marine Corps. But they, as Ernie reminded me, all came home to their families and lived. On Memorial Day I should be honoring the ones who gave all, and their loved ones who lost so much.

Before work this holiday weekend, I took the time to pay my respects to the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a half-sized traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial in Washington D. C. Walking along side it seeing name after name after name after name….one can not help but be overwhelmed of the enormity of the loss…names of young men and women who did not come home. It’s humbling, even for a pacifist like me. My uncles words resonated loudly in my mind as I stopped at each panel and reflected on a random name.

I stopped then at panel 23W and reflected on this name.

1st LT Sharon A. Lane of the 312th Evacuation Hospital, Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam worked caring for injured Vietnamese as well as the most critically injured American soldiers in the surgical ICU. She wrote home upbeat letters to her parents about movies she missed, the heat and GIs in her care. Her last letter home she ended it with “see you sooner.”

On the morning of June 8, 1969, the 312th Evacuation Hospital was struck by a salvo of rockets fired by the Viet Cong.  One rocket struck between Wards 4A and 4B, killing two people and wounding another twenty-seven.  Among the dead was 1st Lt Lane, who died instantly of fragmentation wounds to the chest.  She was one month shy of her twenty-sixth birthday.

Though one of eight American military nurses who died while serving in Vietnam, Sharon Lane was the only American nurse killed as a direct result of hostile fire.

photo credit: northwestvets.com

So today I honor, remember and thank a fellow nurse who served saving lives and died in combat. Thank you 1st Lt Sharon Lane.

emotionally victimized by Shonda Rhimes

Yes, I am STILL watching Grey’s Anatomy. Yes, I know Derek is dead. Yes, I was emotional wreck about it even though it was spoiled for me about two hours before the “How to Save a Life” episode aired. No, it wasn’t because of social media friends on the East coast. It was because of my darling daughter, Abigael Rose telling me. She and her sister, Jodie have just discovered Grey’s Anatomy  thanks to Netflix. They both are finishing up Season 5 and while I have patted myself on the back for not spoiling anything for them so far…no, not even the fact that George is going to die…I just might not hold anything back the next time Abby tells me the latest happenings on Grey’s for her.

Perhaps.

Maybe.

I don’t know.

No, I won’t.

I’ll let Shonda toy with their emotions and heart like she has for the last 11 seasons.

Excuse me now, Jodie just finished watching Good Mourning and I need to be there for her because of Shonda Rhimes. We’ll be there for each other because after last night’s episode it seems that this damn carousel never stops turning. It never stops turning and you can’t get off. At least, for me, not yet.