May 24, 2015

by Robyn Bryant


May 24, 2015

 

What does Memorial Day mean to you? Is it a day to cook out and enjoy friends and family? A good excuse for a lake or beach weekend. Off and on for many years it was a beach weekend for me....when I was single and then after I was married and had children. I have always been very aware of the true meaning of Memorial Day and I respect and honor every soldier that has ever been injured or lost their life fighting for our country. In 2006, Memorial Day took on a different meaning. My Daddy had been diagnosed with lung cancer about 2 weeks before...I drove to Chattanooga late morning or midday to pick up Christian and some friends from school and with all the girls in the car, I received a phone call from my Mother telling me the doctors did not think my Daddy would be with us by the next day. Honestly, I do not know what I said, besides, we would be there and I would do my best to get in touch with my sister in Brooklyn, NY.  

I do remember, that Christian was in the front seat with me and she was crying. My sister caught a flight, we were able to pick her up in Atlanta and my family and my sister headed to Augusta. We arrived in time...Daddy was awake and alert....My Mother, Brother, Sister and Chris, Bailey and Christian were all present with him...he talked to all of us, ate a little dinner and after 10 pm that night left us for his heavenly home on Memorial Day. That Saturday, I saw, my doctor (who would die in a tragic accident less than a month later), he ask about Daddy and I told him he had died and about the last hours and he said, “It does not get any better than that.” Those words have stuck with me, my Daddy was allowed to die with dignity at the age of 75 with his family around him. 

 

Six years later, Memorial Day took on a different meaning...my beautiful, oldest daughter had been critically ill in PICU for weeks on a ventilator and a lot of other support. Christian left us the Saturday before Memorial Day...she too was surrounded by her family and what had become her extended family. Her death was peaceful that day, but unfortunately, I cannot say that she died with the dignity and mercy that my Daddy had, but I can say, that she ran a great, very difficult race and fought like a champion to the end. She received exeptional care at T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee and her cargivers will always be loved by me and our family. 

 

All that said, tomorrow, I will honor our fallen soldiers and also every soldier ever injured or that witnessed the catastrophic events that most of us cannot imagine. I will also honor all Pediatric Cancer survivors, and those who have won the battle and have no more pain and suffering and I will pray an almost desperate prayer for those still in the midst of the fierce battle and those nearing the end. The only loosers in the battle are those of us left behind....so please never ever say someone lost their battle. They WON, heaven is full of some awesome people...some way too young and some older...they are the winners...I cannot wait to live in that beauty one day...I can only imagine....

 

For now....Love Deeply, Forgive Often and Find Your Blessings.... - Robyn