Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day 2011

They say that when we lose our parents, we lose our past, but when we lose a child, we lose our future.

My grandmother Marge lost both her sons too early. My Uncle Dick died of peritonitis after a fall. He was on a ladder trying to paint the side of his house. Uncle Dick trusted his doctor too long, saying to his wife, "He's from Indiana, like I am. I know he'll take good care of me." Nothing against the Hoosier state--and I grew up there so I count myself as one--but Uncle Dick was wrong. His wife Eleanor finally said, "Enough!" and had him transported to Massachusetts General.  Shortly afterwards, he died at age 44 of cardiac arrest after he became septic.

My father suffered a series of heart attacks, and eventually died of congestive heart failure. His three or four packs of cigarettes a day caused massive damage to his heart. He was only 48.

Grandma Marge loved both her boys. Uncle Dick joined the army and went into Korea. My father was in the navy in Trinidad. Both men were proud to serve their country.

Grandma planted peonies in her yard, thinking that the time of their blooming would coincide with Memorial Day. Some years it did. Some years it didn't.

This weekend, the peonies bloomed in my back yard. I thought about my uncle and my father, who both died after serving their country. And my grandmother who outlived both her sons.


Betty Hechtman said...

When I see peonies I think of my mother. She planted a bush of them on the property we have in Indiana. It was always special if it bloomed when we were out there.

Susan said...

Thanks for sharing your memories, Joanna. We moved into our current home in December 18 years ago. It was such a pleasant surprise to find peonies blooming under the window of the sunroom the next May. They remind me both of my grandmother who had a large flower garden, and of my childhood home where a peony bush was planted on the side of our driveway.

signlady217 said...

My cousin's son was killed in Iraq a couple of years ago, plus I have a ton of friends, relatives, and former students who have served over the years (including my husband), so today is one of those close to my heart.

A special, heart-felt THANK YOU to all who serve.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

I hope to move my grandmother's peonies to the grounds of the commercial real estate that we own in St. Louis. I put a codicil in our sale of our house there, stating that I could come back and dig up the plants. Last year, I contracted with a gardener to do that, but he let me this year I'll try again. They are definitely my FAVORITE flower--and a reminder of all who served our country.

Signlady, I am sorry for your family's loss.

Mollie Cox Bryan said...

Such a lovely remembrance. Thanks for sharing it, Joanna.