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Archive for May, 2013

 

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Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery – Pt. Loma, CA – Memorial Day 2012

Memorial Day is the American Holiday observed on the last Monday of May, It honors the men and women who died while serving in war or while otherwise serving in the United States Military.

Originally called Decoration Day, it came into being in the years after the Civil War when Americans in cities and towns began holding springtime tributes to the fallen soldiers of the Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers, and also reciting prayers and poems to the fallen.

It became Memorial Day as we started to honor and decorate the graves of all of our fallen from all wars and conflicts.

Most cemeteries decorate the graves of our fallen with flags, and hold ceremonies reminding us all of the meaning of the words: sacrifice, honor, duty, Country.

No matter your plans for this Memorial Day weekend – please take a moment and remember why it is you have an extra day off work. Remember why it is you have the freedom to say what you please, write what you please, worship whomever you please, and cast your vote as you please.

I’ll be remembering and thanking my great grandfather, grandfather, father, uncles, cousins, friends who were in uniform during the Civil War, WW I, WW II, Korea, and Vietnam.

I’ll also be thinking of family and friends still living who need to be honored and respected for their service during Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan… War changes everyone – living or dead – and they all need to be honored.

If you can’t get to a cemetery to pay tribute you can honor the fallen in your own little part of the world. The US Government’s website tells us we can also “Pay tribute to the U.S. men and women who died during military service by observing a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time.”

To all members of our United States Armed Services, past and present – you have my heartfelt gratitude and thanks for your service.

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Mother’s Day – I knew it was coming – The reminders have bombarded my email inbox for a few weeks now.  Proflowers has been reminding me of Mother’s favorite bouquet – and did I know I haven’t sent her any flowers in a while?  See’s candy reminded me that her favorite assortment was the dark chocolate nuts and chews variety – did I want the 2lb box to make her really happy this Mother’s Day?

My mother passed away on November 11, 2012.  I know I’m not alone in my grief on this Mother’s Day; millions of people no longer have their Mother. Still – this is my mother and this is my grief.

Most of us have issues with our Mothers. In some form of other we like to blame our Mothers for the issues we have with men, or commitment, or love – or the lack thereof in our lives.  If only she had loved me more – or treated me the way she treated my brother. If only she had hugged me more or praised me more or encouraged me more.  If only…

I can’t speak for anyone else; I can only speak for myself and my mother.   No matter the relationship – the fact remains that she is no longer at the other end of the phone, and I no longer get those cards signed “Love and Prayers, Mom.”  I can no longer call and ask her questions about family or history or family recipes, I pick up the phone sometimes when I don’t feel well and I just want to hear my mother’s voice – then I remember she’s gone -and the tears flow down my cheeks.

I tried to not leave things unspoken before she passed – I knew there would never be another chance to get it right with her. The last time I saw her – I knew in my heart it was going to be the last time I saw her. She had dementia and it was progressing – but the one thing she could still focus on was family. So, I set up my computer and we spent 3 days looking at the same files on ancestry.com. She would get something in her head, and I would try my best to find her that information. She was happy, she was smiling, she was laughing – and this is how I have chosen to remember her.

I’ve also decided to not blame my mother for what I consider to be my faults. I mean – I buried her the day before my 60th Birthday – and it seemed foolish for a 60 year old woman to still be blaming her Mommy for her problems. It is after all – my life and not my mothers. At some point in my life, the mistakes became my mistakes, regrets were my responsibility, and makings amends was all on me. I grew up – as we all are meant to do.

My mother lost her Mother when she was 9. She didn’t have the time with her Mother to learn about what relationships between Mothers and daughters should be. I know now – she did the best she could. I’m going to focus on the good things she passed on to me – Love of Country, love of history, the desire to travel, her love of cooking, the need to read, and how she could never sit and do nothing – her hands were always busy – as are mine.

And I remember her telling me how much she always wanted to be a writer…   This one’s for you Mom – Happy Mother’s Day.

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Susan and I celebrate 32 years together on this day, May 1, 2013. We chose May 1 for reasons that we have chosen to keep between each other, just know that if we could have 32 years ago – we’d have a marriage license and a wedding album full of photos and mementos to commemorate the occasion of our commitment to one another.

It hasn’t been 32 years of bliss – It’s been 32 years of husbands and children and parents and families and religion and culture and fear and denial. But always – always, there was love.

I haven’t always been this “out” blogging lesbian – I spent most of my life running from who I was. My family wasn’t and isn’t really – shall we say – gay friendly. Some are – most are not. Some try – most do not. I wasn’t always as strong as I am now – and there was a time when their opinion of who I was mattered. I’m grateful that it no longer matters.

For most of my life I ran away from everything. I was a lost soul wanting so badly to fit in to the world that surrounded me that I tried to be something and someone I was not.   When I met Susan, I knew that my world had changed.

She was married with four children; I was married to a man in the United States Navy. We tried not to fall in love, but love doesn’t know gender – love only knows love. The thing is – it was complicated – very complicated. This was the 1980’s and society was certainly not evolving as quickly as it is now.  We handled things the best we could – which in looking back – wasn’t all that great – but… the truth is – had we done one thing different, we wouldn’t be at this exact place that we are right now.

I did what I always did when things got too complicated – I ran. When my husband got transferred from San Diego, CA to Annapolis, MD, instead of staying with Susan and finding a way to make things work – I ran  – not to some place safe – I ran to my home town which I knew would keep me in my little closet and not make me face the grown-up world of the truth. As far as I ran – it never changed my love for her – ever.

Susan is a stronger woman than I am. She divorced her husband, accepted that she was a lesbian, came out in People magazine, and moved on with her life. She patiently waited for me to find the same courage, but I was not as willing as she was to jump off the gay cliff. We parted ways, but still she waited and still there was love. We got involved with other people – but still there was love. Almost 10 years had passed and still there was love and still I was unwilling to make the jump so when she told me she was done – D.O.N.E. – waiting for me – I knew I had a choice to make.

Within two months of her telling me she was D.O.N.E. – I was standing on her doorstep with my two dogs and my life packed into a truck. Lucky for me – she opened the door – and my life started at that moment.

Now – there is a home filled with love and there are friends and neighbors and always – there is love.  Our children are a blessing and have shown us unconditional love. Our grandchildren are such a source of pride for us, and I can’t imagine loving any of them more than I do at this very moment.

In the end – the only thing that ever mattered with Susan and I was love – for 32 years there has always, always been love. Let people say whatever they will – love is simply  – love…

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