I am still waiting on joy. There is a type of peace coming intermittently, rolling like waves together with grief. The crests sometimes peak higher than they used to. My tendency toward hope and optimism has survived and proven itself. The sun comes up every day still greeted by me. But I miss Susanna always.
Memorial Day seems like it should be a smaller holiday in the scheme of the calendar year, but a holiday still and difficult. In my dream universe I have a rambling farmhouse full of kids and extended family. A combination of The Waltons, Eight is Enough, a hippie commune and the seaside home of Jenny Fields in The World According to Garp. Memorial Day there includes marching band parades, watermelon, strawberry shortcakes and a patriotism which allows for pacifism and feminism. The inhabitants have free hearts and souls and are not crippled with sadness or ill will. I have mimicked this fantasy to the best of my ability in my real world home. Yet I do much better on an average day without the perceived societal pressures.
Summer is coming soon. I look forward to the promise of peace as I have more time for reflection and solitude (and more Susanna time). The truth be told, my school year life in special education is rife with commotion, long days heavy with human interaction and unfortunately violence committed by children. I come home to a partner and son who love me and need me to show up for them. I look forward to some more time to ponder and be.
When I was a child, my family’s many holiday traditions included a huge party, a parade during which kids strung streamers through spokes of bicycle wheels, the intentional shaking of grape and orange cans of soda and planting flowers for relatives at neighboring cemeteries. The cemetery was not sad for me, as I did not yet know anyone who had died. Forgive me, but I do not want to remember death today. I do not want to remember that my little girl was buried somewhere in Brooklyn. I do not want to go to ceremonies to hear guns fired and I do not wish to dwell on fighting and war.
I do want to remember things though. On Memorial Day and every day. Remember that we are here to learn peace and love via arduous pathways. That we are all ultimately part of a whole. That my daughter and all of the spirits and ancestors are a thought away, loving us and helping us. War and pain are real but so is love. And love lasts forever.