It’s Memorial Day.
This day may conjure many different emotions. Many cemeteries are not placing flags or allowing visitors which adds to layers of grief.
It may have been customary to spend the holiday with a large group of family or friends, reveling in a day away from work but now work is staring at you from across the room every day. Today may signify a deepening of the loss of social interaction and work-life balance.
Today we join Mother’s Day and Easter to the list of holidays celebrated in new ways with Father’s Day looming on the horizon.
The reality of Memorial Day, in addition to its great importance, is where it lands in the calendar year, it is literally the doorway to summer. It is that last holiday before the school year ends and perhaps an audible sigh signaling permission to look toward future plans.
Well, I doubt there is anyone who hasn’t already had plans disrupted over the last few months. As summer approaches, it is a foregone conclusion that plans have changed.
I don’t have any magic words to lessen the ache of those once anticipated events. However, I would suggest speaking aloud each loss. I know it may sound insignificant because the awareness of what isn’t happening is obvious.
Why rub salt in open wounds?
I had to express a hard spot to different sets of people several times over the past week. It pre-dates COVID-19 by a few years.
I had to say aloud, my dad has cancer.
It’s also possible, I barely uttered the words when cancer had belonged to my husband several years ago, saving the fluttering of sighs only for God.
I mentioned to Carl how surprised, after all this time and experience, I still needed a deep breath before uttering the words. I knew these words, they have been firmly implanted into my mind and my soul but to hear the words hanging in the air felt different.
Saying the words didn’t change any of those days’ realities.
Saying the words didn’t erase the pain, dismiss uncertainty, or cement plans which undoubtedly for the foreseeable future resemble quicksand.
Saying the words, allowed me to exhale a wee bit, like a tiny pin releasing air from a balloon slowly.
The balloon is still knotted with some inflation remaining, but the tautness of the vessel for air has softened enough to be held.
Saying the words made me stop grasping for control, in any way.
Speak your sorrows.
Speak forth your losses.
Share your pain.
Then remember to be gentle with yourself.
I am becoming acquainted with is a heightened response in my body regardless if something is hard or good. I am choosing to be gentle with myself.
Your words may be…
My wedding is not happening the way I envisioned.
My birthday or anniversary celebration may feel like just another day.
My graduate won’t walk across a stage in the way dreamed of for countless years.
My loved one with mental health challenges is especially vulnerable during this time.
My child with special needs is struggling due to the stripping away of routine and support.
My friends are not only socially distant but nowhere in sight.
My next paycheck is not guaranteed or will not arrive.
My dreams are slipping through my fingers.
What pain point do you need to express?
What tightly held plan do you need to release to allow your body and soul to unclench?
Speak your worthy words into the atmosphere and wrap your arms around yourself in a gentle embrace.
The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.
Numbers 6: 24-26