Honoring your child on Memorial Day
Updated: Nov 29, 2020
Perhaps you’ll be at your child’s grave on Memorial Day, whether they served in the military or whether they only lived long enough to take a couple breaths — or even none at all. We honor our dead children in general on Memorial Day, with fake flowers and real tears, regardless of their age or affiliations and regardless of the years they have been gone. It always hurts.
Though I enjoy cemeteries — I’ve put nearly 10,000 photos of tombstones on find-a-grave for families who want to see or find tombstones of their relatives, and always (always) photograph any child’s grave I see along the way — I hate visiting Daniel’s grave. I remember always the first time we were there, and the death seems so recent, though it has been years now. It never feels remote. It always feels fresh.
One time after a visit with my grandson over Memorial Day weekend, we returned to my home and we planted six trees — five for the five beautiful grandchildren I love, and the sixth in honor of Daniel, who didn’t live long enough to have a child of his own. He’s my forever 16-year-old boy. It should be obvious why we selected evergreen trees, which don’t even seem to die in winter.
Regardless whether you are able to visit a grave or not (I realize that not all grieving parents have that option, and others aren’t able emotionally to do so), our thoughts will naturally return to our dead children on this holiday. I wish for you a moment of certainly that it wasn’t all in vain — that your child’s life meant so very much. Your child mattered, and your love for them is indestructible.
It’s hard. Talk to a friend or someone comfortable remembering your child with you. We’re here for you as well, if you need an ear or want a shoulder. We are here, a collective of people who actually do understand what you are going through. We can help.
To all of our children… you mattered. You changed our lives for the best simply by entering our worlds. And we loved you then and will remember and love you always.