It’s Memorial Day here in Huntington, West Virginia. Adam and I arrived in the USA on 21 May to attend a memorial for my brother, Kevin which was on 24 May 2014. It was a very hard day for all of us who knew him. This Memorial Day is layered for us with sweet and bittersweet memories.
Lisa, Kevin’s wife, Sandy, his step-daughter, Piper, their faithful dog, Adam and I went to Ritter Park to enjoy the weather as well as lunch that we picked up from Arby’s. We watched the things going on around us. I got a thrill seeing a squirrel. I even recorded a video of a squirrel munching on a curly fry. I wanted to share this with Australians or anyone else who never got to see a squirrel munch on a curly fry. It seems like it’s been over 5 years since I saw a squirrel and to see one eating a fry was just really special to me.
It was great to see families out enjoying the day. Memorial Day in the USA is a day when the military is remembered for their service to the USA during war and peace time. It is a lot like Anzac Day for Australians. There are parades around the nation. I got to listen to Lisa and Sandy reminisce and I even reminisced about Kevin too. I got to walk where his feet trod.
I hadn’t seen Kevin in over 20 years. We had tried to tee up meeting together when I would return stateside but something always happened and our best laid plans went down the gurgler. I regret not being able to see him again in person. The pain of my loss is very raw. It is easier though being with his family. It was good being together with my siblings even though it was a sad occasion. My brother Chuck did a wonderful eulogy for Kevin. I wanted to cheer and clap. My sister Judy also stood up and spoke some touching words about Kevin. I just couldn’t manage it at the moment. I wish I could write more about him. Words though just can’t seem to do justice for the way I feel about Kevin. It’s something I find hard to express. I think my poem Hero was the best I could do. I guess I could have stood up and read that but in that moment I just didn’t have the strength to do so.
This Memorial Day for me was filled with laughter. We didn’t cry today. I know we will still have tears. It’s part of the grieving process. I will always miss my brother. I will always remember this Memorial Day because for me and I hope for Lisa and Sandy, this Memorial Day seemed to have many different meanings. I will never forget this Memorial Day because it was a treasure to be with the ones Kevin loved.