Memorial Day 2020

As we drove home today following a weekend visit with our daughter and son-in-law, we passed a church with a Memorial Day marquee that said:

Instead of mourning their death, thank God they lived.

I have to admit that I struggle with not letting sayings like this really irritate me. To me – and I’m speaking strictly in my own humble opinion – people who spout sayings like this (or in this case put on a church marquee) have no idea what it’s like to deeply mourn the loss of a dearly loved person, especially the death of a child. A saying like this could easily be interpreted as condemnation for someone who is mourning. At best, those saying things like this are horribly misinformed. At worst, it’s a slap in the face for those grieving the loss of a loved one.

Mourning the death of a loved one and being thankful that they lived is not an either/or situation. I am so thankful that Jason was born. I am so incredibly thankful he was born into our family. Being thankful for his life doesn’t mean that I don’t mourn his death or that I don’t miss him every day of my life. It’s an awfully huge assumption that both grief and thankfulness cannot co-exist.

Those who mourn should not to be judged or condemned for not being thankful. The Bible calls those who mourn blessed. Consider the words of Jesus said in the Beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3-10

Hugs to all of you missing dearly loved ones today.


© 2020 Rebecca R. Carney



Poignant Days

There are days when I feel your absence so acutely,

Days that remind me of what was,

Days that remind me of what could have been,

Days that remind me of what I wish with all my heart had been.

This is one of these days, and I miss you so much.

I love you, Jason.


© 2017 Rebecca R. Carney

Memorial Day Weekend

From my journal dated May 24, 2002:

A long weekend looms ahead…with nothing to do and no one to do anything with. I just don’t know how to change things. How much should we have to do to get people to include us, call us, be here for us. It’s just all so backwards.

I’ve tried to communicate multiple times to [church] family and people we know how badly we need them here for us right now. They just don’t seem to get it. I can’t beg…and I won’t ask again. I’ve asked very plainly…and they still don’t respond. How much more should I have to do? I feel like my hand has been slapped away for reaching out.

It’s just not right. Seems sort of like the story of the Good Samaritan. How many people crossed to the other side of the road and didn’t stop to help? Is the injured man supposed to help himself? I feel like we are the beaten, bloody, battered souls lying on the side of the road while people look the other way, cross to the other side of the road.

It’s so evident to me on a morning like this how lost Joe and I are without Jason and how depleted we are. We just sit on the couch staring. We’re just drained or numb or something. Weekends just aren’t something to look forward to any more.

Memorial Day is Monday. We all have the day off, but what are we going to do? No one asks us to do anything! We have to entertain ourselves…and we have no energy to do it.

I’m afraid Joe and I are going to get tired of each other’s company. Since nobody calls us to do anything and nobody wants to be around us, we are almost all the company each other has. We go to dinner together, watch movies, go for walks. But we can’t really support each other. Each of us is dealing with so much grief, it’s impossible to be a support for each other like we normally would. We need other people to be here for us besides each other. I just don’t know how to do that any more. It just seems like another way we are paying the price for Jason’s death. A price of aloneness, loneliness. Such a solitary place. I know no one can walk this walk for me, but surely it can’t be a good thing to be this alone so much of the time.

From my journal dated May 27, 2002:

This is Memorial Day. I’m sure other people have the day off and are doing something – a BBQ or picnic. Why don’t people see the need to try harder instead of pulling back? Maybe they just don’t want a downer on their party. I know we’re not much fun right now. Maybe they’re just waiting for us to “get better” before including us. I don’t know. I don’t understand.

Debra* called today. I think she feels like she has to tell me how busy she is and why she hasn’t called or been over. How can I change my focus from feeling let down by people who are not here for us? It’s so evident every long day when we are so alone. It’s so much right there in my face. I don’t want to be bitter. I don’t want to add the wounds of this aloneness to the grief in my heart of losing Jason. I don’t know how or where to make new friends or how to keep on reaching out to old ones. I’ve tried, but nothing’s worked. I’m fresh out of ideas.

We went to the cemetery today for their Memorial Day service and then to the gravesite. It just makes it too real to stand there looking at a tombstone with your child’s name on it.

Today was a really hard day for Joe. He worked on the yard for a while after we got back from the cemetery and then studied for a project at work. But, you know, you can only distract yourself with busy work so long, even if it’s necessary busy work. It gets old…all projects get old now so quickly. They just seem so unimportant, so meaningless.

We just ended up sitting on the couch after Jenna left for work. “Now what?” I remember before the accident Joe would pose the question to me, “Well, what are we going to do today?” Becky, the event planner. Now the question looks huge! We don’t know what to do. We need to do something. We don’t have any energy to do much, but we get too sad and the days look too long just to stay home and putter. Even if it’s small or we just stay a short while at some place or event, at least it’s something to look forward to.

What do we do to go on, to find some purpose? It just seems like each day drags on and on. We’re trudging through the days mechanically doing what we have to do – whether it’s work, school, or distracting ourselves with some movie or TV. I just feel like I’m making myself get through the days until I wake up to find this isn’t real…or until God speaks to me or heals my broken heart or shows me some purpose or good out of all this pain…or until I can look at the clock and realize it’s time to take a sleeping pill and go to bed so I don’t have to try any more for that day. Nothing seems to help. Long days…