We like to talk about everything from home decor to fashion to parenting. The main overall theme though is FUN. If you don't like to laugh, then this probably isn't the place for you.
This time of the year is a TOUGH one. It was at this exact time last year that I was sitting in a hospital room with my mom, day in and day out, as we watched my dad suffering through the most horrific last days of his life. The memories of that painful time constantly flood my head and my heart, and I’m really struggling with how to deal with it all.
What many people don’t know is that I said “goodbye” to my dad years before he actually passed away. You see, my poor father battled an insane amount of health issues for the last decade of his life, thanks to Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. He experienced everything from shingles to strokes to cancer of the larynx to open heart surgery to cancer of the throat. And those were just the major things. The man went through more than any human being should ever have to face.
It’s probably not surprising that all those health problems did a number on not only my dad’s physical state but also his mental state. His third stroke, in particular, really affected his ability to relate to other people. He just never seemed the same after that, which was absolutely heartbreaking. I sooooooo wish I would’ve known that EVERYTHING was going to change so that I could have appreciated his old “spunk” more than I did. But that’s the thing with hindsight, isn’t it?
So now, I’m left with these horribly conflicting flashbacks of the hilarious, stubborn, independent, gutsy man that my dad always used to be and the feeble, sick man that he ultimately (and unfairly) became. Believe me, helplessly watching a loved one in pain is honestly one of the WORST things that anyone can ever experience. And unfortunately, thoughts of that gut-wrenching time continuously pop into my head at the most unexpected moments.
Surprisingly, though, I feel at least a little bit of comfort sitting in my backyard. I’m sure it’s because of the beautiful tree that we planted back there in memory of my dad. I’ve often seen a red cardinal hanging around this tree, and I feel very strongly that it’s a sign from my dad that he’s ok and no longer suffering. I can’t think of anything more reassuring than that.
So on this Memorial Day, I’d like to pay tribute to my dad and to all the other fallen soldiers who sacrificed literally EVERYTHING for our country. Like many other vets, my dad was always very humble and extremely private about his military service. I’m beyond honored to own the flag that was presented to our family at his funeral and will cherish it forever.
“Heroes never die. They live on forever in the hearts and minds of those who would follow in their footsteps.” – Emily Potter
DIY's & fun direct to your inbox!