Posted on 25 May, 2009 By 22 Comments

Memories for Memorial Day


Lincoln Bridge, Vermont (by brentdanley)

I know that the Memorial Day holiday is a remembrance those who have died in war but for me I’ve usually thought of it as memory day – a day or remembering the dead and a day for dealing with certain memories. I suppose I am fortunate in that I don’t actually know anyone who has died in a war.

10 days ago I spent a long weekend in Vermont visiting my brothers and to attend my Mother’s burial. I was dreading the trip because I felt it was going to reopen painful emotions that I was finally dealing with.

Frequently, however, our expectation of how something will be is far worse than the actual event.

The day of the burial was a perfectly gorgeous day. It was 70F, bright blue skies, and not a single cloud. My brother said that the day before, which was the day I was traveling, was cold, rainy and super windy. A tree knocked over a power line and the electricity was out for 4 hours. It’s harder to be sad when the weather is so wonderful.

There weren’t too many people there – me and my brothers, my Mom’s last uncle, and some of my Mom’s co-workers. After it was done, my brothers and I went to lunch with a couple of my Mom’s friends, including her best friend Alan.

I had met Alan a couple of times before but never spent so much time with him until that day. And he is hysterical – no wonder my Mom liked him so much. He told some funny stories about Mom and had her mannerisms down perfectly.

My Mom was famous for losing her keys. When I was a kid she once dumped them in the mailbox when she was mailing some letters. Another time the got folded in with the stacks of pants at a store and were discovered a month later. The only way we were able to keep her from losing the mailbox key, after she had lost it numerous times, was to attach it to a large stuffed toy.

Well, Alan told a really funny key story and we were all laughing and crying at the same time. It was just so funny how her constant losing of keys affected everyone who spent time with her. The lunch and the time we spent together was actually fun – and I think Mom would have liked it that way.

photo credit: brentdanley

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22 Responses to “Memories for Memorial Day”

  • I’m glad you had the chance to meet Alan. Hearing about our loved ones through another person’s eyes can sometimes be a great salve in healing the wounds of their loss.

    I wish you the best and hope you have a good weekend!

    Tawnya´s last blog post – Grateful

    • Hi Tawnya – I’ve known Alan for almost 10 years but never really spent
      much time with him – I know him mostly from my Mom’s stories. He
      is so funny and knew my Mom so well. I think he really misses her.

  • Speaking of deaths, I just lost my brother this month.

    Paul Ubiadas´s last blog post – Miscellaneos Ramblings

  • I’m glad you did this in this way. The gift of time between your mother’s death and the burial itself gave a different perspective, and perhaps settled raw feelings. And what a treat to be able to remember your mother with joy through Alan’s joy at knowing her.

    Betsy Wuebker´s last blog post – THE SECRET OF FREEDOM IS COURAGE

    • Hi Betsy – I was dreading it – honestly, I almost didn’t go but my brother
      convinced me that I would regret it later. And I’m so glad I did – it wasn’t
      horrible – it was a group of people remembering my Mom.

  • Thanks for the wonderful article, Kim. I’m so glad you got to share the memories of your mom with your friends and family. The stories of your mom and her keys are really funny. I love how the stuffed animal became the guardian of the keys. ;-)

    Alan sounds awesome. I’m glad you two got to know each other.

    Jim´s last blog post – Robin’s Egg Watch – May 17th

    • Hi Jim – Yeah, some Alan stuff just isn’t blog safe ;-)

      The mail key is on a big stuffed Scooby-Doo keychain. My brother said that once he put the key on there, Mom stopped losing it.

  • Ah — That’s where you were off to!

    I’m glad to hear that the time was better than you’d expected :) I hope it was a helpful break from your usual day to day — Welcome back :)

    Siel´s last blog post – Discover One-Mile-Radius Living

    • Hi Siel,

      Yep – I’m either within 1.5 miles of my house or in Vermont. Although, I
      am going to NYC next weekend for a long overdue visit with a friend.

      It was better that I expected but not too much of a break – well, it was a
      break from work and I did see a movie ;-)

  • I am really glad it turned out to be OK Kim… I remember you were anxious about it… Really nice that it went fine…

    stratosg´s last blog post – Writing a simple web crawler in Perl

    • Thanks Stratos :-) I was nervous about it for a variety of reasons and
      it was actually fun and a nice visit. I got to spend some time with my youngest brother too – he’s usually with friends or working so I enjoyed that.

  • Thank you for sharing this memory, Kim. I think it’s great to remember loved ones who passed away in a positive way.

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post – A Rose Garden

  • Kim,
    Thanks for the update on the last rites and the day’s proceedings. I remember you mentioning about the winter caused delay.

    Some of your narratiions are really interesting… I still remember the post about your grandma.


    Ajith Edassery´s last blog post – Blog Statistics: What, when and where?

    • Hi Ajith – Thanks! I don’t write too many personal articles but I’m glad
      that people enjoy them. I’m glad the burial is done and that it was better
      than I anticipated.

  • Lovely writing and good to laugh. I am remembering my mum’s death today – thinking about what to do with all her pictures, in frames and albums – Maybe I can learn to scan them and put them on a flash drive – but what to do with those kinds of physical things?

    I have boxes of her income taxes and paperwork…the lawyer said shred one set every year.

    I am not a good things person – like the stories better.

    I wish I could say I didn’t know anyone who had died in a war – I walked over the the state memorials yesterday and read every name. 6 of the fellows I went to 1st grade with are listed on the Viet Nam wall…alone

    Patricia´s last blog post – Hesitation

    • Hi Patricia – We still have a lot of paperwork and photos too. My brothers
      are living in her house so they are dealing with most of it. What is sad
      is that all these things that we save and that are important to us, ultimately aren’t that important.

      I’m not great with things either – I’m constantly getting rid of stuff.

      I’m sorry about your classmates – it’s very possible that I grew up with someone who died in a war but I don’t know about it. I know people who
      have been involved in wars but none that have died.

  • It’s always good to remember the fun times with someone we have lost, and to hear about the ways that our loved one touched someone elses’ life, especially in funny ways. That was a wonderful story to read.

    ~ Kristi

    • Hi Kristi – Thanks. It was a lot of fun realizing how her key issue affected
      everyone who knew her.

      I think growing up with constantly searching for her keys and glasses forced me to be the opposite. Everything has a place where it belongs and I never lose things. Occasionally I can’t find my phone but that’s because I forgot that I plugged it in to charge it.

  • Kim,

    Heartwarming. I know that when I think about my dad, it’s always with a little bit of a melancholy smile. Mom and I talk about him quite a bit and it’s always fond memories, which I know he would have wanted.


    Tumblemoose´s last blog post – What Kindergarten taught me about writing today

    • Hi George – :-) I think about her a lot but don’t have too many people to
      talk to her about her. Some with my brothers but not too much. I know what was really important to my Mom was that the three of us stick together and help each other.

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