Memorial Day

Monday, May 31, 2010


I anger easily and I get offended easily, however - anyone close to me will tell you I forgive faster than most.  I have had people in my life do true damage to me, yet I can now have civil - even friendly - relationships with them.  There are plenty of people I don't like, but if they called me at 3 am, because they needed help, I would go.

I struggle because there are two people on this earth I remain bitter towards.  I have bathed the situations in prayer and struggle, because I cannot seem to move past these hurts.

For one situation, I seem to always be especially angry on Memorial Day.  It is an anger that stems from an acute sense of loss, because I never knew my grandfather who served in World War II.

He lived until my Mum was 16, so he survived the war (my mother is a child of the 50's).  I know very little about him: he served in the Army Air Force, he was stationed in England, he moved over to the Air Force when the branches separated...only this year did I learn that our birthdays are the same month.

We almost never spoke of him as I was growing up, because my Mum's mother chose not to be a part of our lives.  All I knew was that the sepia photo in our home was of Papaw McElveen.

On Memorial Day, I hurt.  I want to honor him as a person, not just a scant collection of facts.  I have overwhelming anger and bitterness, because I can't find anything out about him.  My Mum never knew him as an adult, and his widow is still alive, so all military records are sealed shut.

I have dreams of meeting men who served with him.  As the years pass, I realize that chance grows smaller and smaller.  I pray for God to open doors and take away my anger taht seems to bubble over this day of the year.

I don't know how someone can feel such a keen sense of loss for something they never had.  I just know that my Mimi and Granddaddy (my father's parents) were two of the most influential people in my life.  Since I lost my Mimi to cancer, I have had moments where I KNEW what she would say and what she would do for me, and I cherish my memories of her.  I mourn the fact that I could have had another grandmother to love and on this special day - could be able to recount stories to my caterpillars of the many scrafices their great-grandfather made.

The boys and I served in a color guard at Cookie and Doc's church yesterday morning.  After calling them to place the flags, I led the Pledge of Allegiance.  Then I sat on the front row as Veterans from all five branches of the Armed Forces gathered at the front to be honored and prayed over.

I cried.  Not for the men in front of me, I honor them with my thanks and my promise to make sure my children KNOW why they did what they did.  I cry because I wish I knew who my Papaw McElveen was.  Why he joined.  Why he stayed in the service.  Why he was so proud to serve.

Thank you.  To anyone who has served in our family and especially Uncle Marine, who continues to do so.  Thank you.

~Lone Butterfly  )i(


Little Rose said...

Oh, Chris, I had no idea you were having a hard day! I am so sorry ... Maybe when you aren't so busy, we can talk. :-) Cheer up, buttercup! I LOVE YOU!!

Laurie said...

Hubby's dad comes from a big family, but doesn't communicate with them at all. Hubby hasn't even met his aunts and uncles and they don't know 'A' even exists (or me, probably, for that matter.) I've been debating looking them up and contacting them, but reading your post made me realize I need to stop thinking about it and just do it. 'A' deserves to know all his extended family. We've lost so many of them- we need to cherish and actively connect with those who are left before we lose that chance. Thank you for a beautifully written and inspirational post. I miss you friend!

Little Rose said...

Laurie, that will be such a neat testimony! My mom just recently connected with her family who she hadn't talked to in 20-30 years. They were unbelievably receptive! God's timing is so perfect - they had just given up looking for her when she found them ... I will be praying the same for your family!