A Golden Memorial Day

Memorial Day has traditionally been a time to remember the fallen soldiers who have put their lives on the line for our freedom. My family still honors them today.

This year we are honoring some other fallen soldiers too. These KIDS put their lives and their “good days” on the line to further research as they participated in trials that might save their lives. They knew that if it did not save their own life, it might one day help find a cure to childhood cancer and save the lives of other kids. These soldiers will hold a special place in my heart as well as my family’s hearts forever.

My brother-in-law and his best friend welded horseshoes into ribbons and then put a stake on the end. I painted them gold, which represents childhood cancer awareness. We placed them by two boys' gravestones in my community who were kind, brave, and stood up to cancer.

Lucy is still so young that she does not understand death. Charlie is beginning to ask questions. He saw a picture of sweet Jake on his gravestone. He knew he looked young and asked how old he was.

I said, “Six.”

“That comes after five, right Mama?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

“I will be five on my next birthday, right?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

He walked silently back to our vehicle. Just before we got in, he turned around and asked me, “Why do kids die?”

I swallowed the big lump in my throat and tried to suck the tears back into my eyes. I took a big deep breath and got down on my knees so I could look at him in his big blue eyes.

“I don’t know sweetie. It just happens sometimes,” I responded. He got back in the vehicle and I buckled him up. I do not know if that was the best answer. I do not know what a 4-year-old can understand. I know that Charlie is a tenderhearted boy who worries more than a little boy should worry. I was trying to balance teaching them some sort of a lesson and still protect them from the scary part of life – death.

The best part of raising my children in church is that there is hope and they remember that. Earlier when we visited Robert’s grave Charlie remembered his name. He asked, “Is that the same Robert that we prayed for a lot before we went to bed?” Robert was fighting cancer the same time Lucy was. In fact, he was fighting before Lucy was diagnosed and still fighting after.

Marc responded, “Yes, son.”

“So, he didn’t get better?” Charlie asked.

“No, he didn’t,” Marc replied.

“So, he died?” Charlie asked.

Marc looked at me before he responded. We both took a deep breath and Marc said, “Yes, son.”

Then Lucy’s sweet innocent spirit chimed in and said, “So Robert’s in Heaven?”

At the same time, Marc and I both said, “Yes.”

Hope.

We spent the rest of the day swimming in the pool with my kids and enjoying their lives. We took a late night ATV ride down the county road and on my dad’s old stomping grounds.

There is never a dull moment or a completely relaxing moment with small kids. However, there were moments of the day that I could look around and know that I am so blessed.

I hope everyone had a blessed Memorial Day and that you honored the fallen soldiers in your lives.

God’s got this.