I am writing this post on Memorial Day, a day where we as a country acknowledge, remember and grieve the loss of loved ones who have served our country over the years in World Wars, the Korean War, Viet Nam, 911, or current struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also remember those who in times of peace have lost their lives due to everyday risks of serving our country. As part of our heritage, we are privileged to have had committed, courageous individuals who have sacrificed so much. We pause to honor them, their legacies and their impact to our lives.
Anger in grief and loss
I think it is important to realize the many different and complex emotions that could occur due to a loved one’s loss of life. Feelings may drift from intense pride to insurmountable grief. At other times, anger may occur at the circumstances in which your loved one lost his or her life.
I remember how the controversial Viet Nam years tore apart our country. Once our troops returned (most had been drafted) they often met with non-acceptance and may have felt intense shame for their service in that guerilla war. A negative reception must have amplified their grief.
I think of soldiers who saw their friends and comrades die in battle. I also think of the families who, in addition to missing their departed family members, have suffered challenging consequences because they have had to raise children alone and provide support for their families as they recovered from their loss.
Remembering the consequences of loss
When you think of the sheer numbers of individuals affected by such losses, the physical, emotional and relational effects are huge. Moreover, the pain of loss may have been a part of a family member’s life for months, years or decades.
The loss of a family member can create a significant set of circumstances–certainly a difficult journey–and devastate children. So often, after we have honored the death of a loved one, there is little further support for the family as they attempt to recover and put life back in order.
Remembering families deserve our support and help
So today, I also want to acknowledge and appreciate the families of those who have lost sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers, mothers and friends in battle. We need to rally around them as those who are a part of our broader family and community, who can offer a hug, listening ear, financial support, vacation, counseling, comfort, practical assistance, spiritual guidance–or just someone to be there with them in the difficult days.
Today, we not only remember those we have lost but those who they have left behind.
I am sure there is someone close to you who you can think about, pray for, call or serve as a way to say “thank-you” for the loss they have suffered.
I do hope you have had a great time with your own family on this Memorial Day weekend.
Thank you, once again, for reading the Lakeside Connect blog. I hope it continues to be beneficial to you.
Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network