not much of a holiday

I hate Memorial Day. 

What was intended as a day to honor fallen soldiers and unofficially mark the beginning of summer (even though it doesn’t start until June) has, for me, been marred by a series of tragedies.

As a kid, Memorial Day weekend was always a sign that school was almost out and summer was nearly here. The weather would warm, days would grow longer, I would ride my bike after dinner before dark, and we would head to the beach. The school year would begin to fade in the distance behind us, and the freedom of summer was just ahead.

I was very fortunate to have a fulfilling childhood. I always had food and shelter, I was not abused, I was loved. No one in my family ever died in military action, which would have changed the focus of the day. Tragedy in my life came later.

The loss of my childhood innocence is marked by two life-altering events at ages 11-12. One was my parents’ separation and divorce and leaving our family home when I was in 6th grade. The other happened Memorial Day weekend, just after I turned 12. 

My parents were together in the same room for the first time since we all lived under the same roof. They were trying to find a way to tell me that one of my best friends was dead. He and his brothers had been killed in a fire that ripped through their home the night before. The boys were ages 4-12, and I knew them all. At the funeral, the collective weeping could have broken even the hardest heart. Their mother, bless her, was obviously heavily medicated. Their father could not even attend as he was in the hospital after a failed attempt to save them. I still don’t know how they survived such unfathomable loss. She was my heroine. We kept in touch for about a year and a half, after which it became too painful as they tried to rebuild their lives (they did, by the way). More than 25 years later, I still think of them, especially on Memorial Day weekend. 

Years later, a good friend was in a horrible car accident on her way home from a music festival on Memorial Day. Miraculously, she was unhurt. But the driver and her best friend were severely injured, one almost fatally and the other spent years in recovery. A fourth passenger died while our friend struggled to help him. 

One year, something good actually happened that weekend. We thought the “curse” was lifted. Not. 

Since then, we lost both of our beloved dogs on Memorial Day weekend. One we lost to cancer at the near ripe old age of 12 in 2001, and then last year, our best friend unexpectedly left us at just 5 years young on May 24. 

There have been other incidents. But these stand out.

It’s hard to know what to expect. Shit seems to happen even when we lay low. This year we’re hoping for a whole lot of nothing. It would be nice just to try and enjoy the day off for a change.


~ by luna on May 22, 2008.

20 Responses to “not much of a holiday”

  1. Memorial Day is also very tough for my best friend. Something horribly tragic happened to her on Memorial Day weekend and it took her years to work over and through it. That event has shaped a large part of who she is now, but thankfully, most of it is for the better. If anything, she came through it a little less trusting.

    I think you’ve had enough shit happen to you already, so hopefully you’ll have a reprieve from the bad streak this year.

  2. What a tragic culmination of bad memories. I like Kymberli’s logic. Here’s wishing you a peaceful and completely uneventful weekend.

  3. I’m so sorry, Luna. This weekend must bring back so many difficult and painful memories.

    I agree with Kymberli – you’ve had more than your share of heartache. I hope that this year you and the amazing M can enjoy a peaceful Memorial Day.

  4. No wonder it’s a hard holiday for you. (((hugs)))

  5. I’m sorry for all your losses and for all the reminders this holiday brings with it.

    As others have said, may this one be completely uneventful.

  6. God I’m sorry this weekend brings with it so much duress. For me it’s Valentine’s Day. This last one, I had to euthanize my best friend. The one before, a young and dear relative died from injuries sustained in a car accident, and so on. It’s hard enough facing these memories but to have them converge on the same day makes getting through the day incredibly daunting. Take care.

  7. Whoa, Luna–what a bad string of events. Im hoping that the karma gods will have nothing but GOOD things for your Memorial Day this year, and for every other freakin’ MD in the future.
    Ill toast you this weekend as I sit by the campfire.

  8. It’s enough to make you want to declare Monday Tuesday, the way old highrises used to skip the 13th floor. I’m sorry all these memories are attached to this day and that you’re suffering. I hope the horrid day passes quietly this year.

  9. I hope you have a whole lot of nothing this year. No wonder this weekend brings you a sense of dread. Just get through it. Perhaps take 10 minutes to just sit still and meditate..

  10. I’m really sorry that you’ve been hit so hard. I’ve had my share of holiday losses too and they become forever entwined together. I do hope that this year brings you nothing but good things though….

  11. I’m just sending peace of heart for the weekend.

  12. Wow, sorry for the emo pile up this weekend, that’s terrible. Wonder what it is with late May . . .

    I just got done writing somewhere else that I never paid much attention to this holiday until last year. And suddenly I got all the stories of parents mourning their lost sons and daughters and it just turned me into a little ball of sadness when everyone else was dancing around the grill. Just today Bella asked me what the holiday was and I told her straight up: “we’re going to remember men and women who died in war.” And we will.

    And I’ll think of you, too.

  13. Oh Luna. That’s a lot to deal with. Here’s hoping for a simple relaxing sunny weekend in the garden.

  14. Wishing you the most uneventful Memorial Day ever. I’m so sorry that this weekend brings up so many awful memories, Luna.

  15. Good gawd, I can’t even imagine what the looming weekend must mean for you emotionally. Hang in there, hopefully it’ll skip this year?

  16. Wishing you lots of peaceful nothing this weekend.

  17. I can certainly understand why you hate Memorial Day. You’ve been so traumatized: it’s like your bones aching in the rain for you. Perhaps you could dedicate Memorial Day to the friends lost, both human and canine to a particular activity/charity? For example, volunteering at animal shelter or releasing balloons in their memory, or origami cranes? Just a thought.

  18. Thank you so much for commenting on my blog! I’ve been reading through your posts and you seem like an amazingly strong woman. I love your expressive writing style and I can’t wait to read more. I will definitely be adding you to my Google reader (as soon as I figure out how to work the thing; I just learned about its existance today!). If it’s OK with you, I would also like to add you to my blogroll.

    I’m sorry Memorial Day weekend is so difficult for you. The story about losing your friend is so sad. You have been though so much and are truly an inspiration to me. I’m incredibly grateful to have found your blog.

  19. Why is it that bad things happen in chunks? When you’re least able to handle it, due to all the other shitty things that have happened, here comes one more thing. I’m so sorry Luna – you’ve earned the right to be off the Fate’s radar screen for a while. Hope this weekend passed uneventfully for you.

    We lost a beloved pet when she was only 5 yo as well – much, much too young. It always seems to be the nice ones who get hurt, with dogs as well as people.

    Wishing you peace….

  20. […] now, I just hope we can stave off the Memorial Day curse a little while […]

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