'Am I Worthy?' These three words played again and again in my mind as I left the Cemetery on Memorial Day, after visiting my Father's grave with my Mother.
As I wrote in my blog post leading up to that visit, I don't remember much about my Father, given the fact that I was so young when he was taken from me, and I often wonder what he was like. During this visit, my Mother told me that my Father was a good and kind man, loved by all who knew him, and that it was unfair that his life was cut so short. My Mother, who possesses the finest character of anyone I know, and is also loved by all who know her, often feels unworthy of it, wondering if her perceived inadequacies are the reason so much tragedy has found its way into her life. In fact, standing on his grave, she said to me, "I often think your Father died early because I didn't deserve him."
My heart ached. My Mother did deserve such a special man, given the special woman she is. She gives all of herself to those she loves, and to those she doesn't even know. She gives it quietly, not expecting anything in return. Yet, what she does receive in return is love - those who know her love her. While life events haven't always gone her way, and in fact, seem to have unfairly not gone her way at all, she is truly loved. Hearing her words, I wonder if she knows it, if she believes it, if she believes she deserves it.
We often wonder if we are deserving or worthy. This doubt can cause unease about where we stand, making us afraid to do that which we are capable of doing. It takes courage, a belief on one's worth, to live and to love, and to be loved. I have wondered if I am worthy of the wonderful life I live and the wonderful love I have felt. It is only when I joyfully accept them both that I am able to return the love and to live the life, thereby fulfilling my purpose. I don't lightly accept them; rather, I take a cue from my life role model - my Mother - and live a life of service and dedication, of hard work and fun play, of grace and humility, of love and joy. I live a life that I believe is worthy of those with whom I share it, embracing the joy it brings.
Am I worthy? Yes, thanks to the joy in my heart, and so are you (and you, Mom).
'Do you remember?' is what I often ask myself during Memorial Day weekend. It seems an odd question to ask oneself, but I'm not sure if I do remember.
My father died when I was five years old. Five is an age when a child is beginning to think and to remember. Yet five is a distant memory, and seemingly has been for my entire adult life. For some reason, I remember very little from when I was a mere child of five.
And yet I want to remember. I want to relive the moments I had with my father, believing them to have been as special as the moments I witnessed with my own children at five with their father. I want to believe those moments existed for my father and me, too. And, yet, my memory doesn't always serve me.
Why Memorial Day? Because it is generally on this weekend that my mother visits my father's grave to plant flowers, and to remember. I'm sure she has memories of her short time married to the love of her life. I know her annual visits stir those memories. They also stir emotion. I wish for her that her memories will stir the emotions of joy my father brought into her life when he was here, and that the joy will be powerful enough to overcome the sadness that is surely also stirred by the stark reminder that he is no longer here.
Perhaps I am fortunate to not remember. Perhaps my inability to recall specific moments leaves my pot of sadness undisturbed. Or perhaps joy bubbles to the top of my simmering pot of emotions, given my trust that my relationship with my father was as wonderful as that of my daughters with their father. I'm going to go with that. I know my father is in heaven watching and caring for me as fathers do.
As we remember those we honor on Memorial Day, let us feel the joy they brought to those who knew them, and let it overcome the sadness felt by their absence. And, do remember that their gift of love and sacrifice allows us to be free to live in peace and to find our joy.
On Memorial Day, remember.
Ode to Mom
It matters not if she be slight, fair or tall;
In as much as the title 'Mom' embodies all.
Whilst physical traits are of no import;
A joyful spirit doth every Mom sport.
In the heart of Mom to human babe or beast in the wild;
Burns the intense joy ignited by her child.
It fuels her strength to face each task;
And steeps her patience to do all we ask.
A cheery disposition Mom ever bears;
Effortlessly donning the many hats she wears.
For all she is the world's treasure she is owed;
Yet she will most cherish her child's love returned, so I give Mom this Ode.
author of "JOY"