Lately, I’ve been getting into trouble a little bit with a phrase that sometimes slips out of my mouth before I have the chance to catch it.
It sometimes happens around this time of the year. And always around the subject of Remembrance Day.
People will ask which service I’m going to, or “it’s on a Sunday this year, will you come to our parish with us?” (thanks 2nd for asking but I’m really going to have to decline).
I usually just take a deep breath, trying to keep it together, especially if it’s blind-sided me and it’s an unexpected reminder. Sometimes after this breath, I mutter quietly “gah I hate Remembrance Day.” And then I get into trouble.
As I rightfully should! I need to learn to phrase it differently – I don’t do well on Remembrance Day, or I’m too emotional on Remembrance Day, or It’s a rough day for me or something like that. But it always comes out as hate.
It’s shocking to hear that from someone, I totally understand that. And I would get upset too if I ever heard someone say that, or I guess I would have before, but not anymore. It first happened during my first contract in Korea with a bunch of ex-pats I was meeting for the first time with a girl I worked with. She was dating one of the guys in the group, who was stationed there with the US military in Peyongtek, and he got it. “Iraq?” “Nopes, Afghanistan” And that was all that needed to be said. He got it. That was in 2011 – just eight short months after L died.
It’s not that I don’t fully support Remembrance Day and everything that it stands for. I do. I really really do. But when I’m standing at the local legion or cenotaph on the morning of November 11th, I can’t focus on anything that’s happening. All I can focus on is the memory a flag-draped coffin being pulled from a plane, watching it on the news as it goes down the highway of heroes as people lined that one specific bridge on the 401 to show support for the loss of someone they don’t even know, but every single time they will be there. How just a little bit earlier I had to learn, from that same news station, that I was never going to see a friend of mine again. Someone my mom considered an extra son to her. Someone who just three weeks prior to that had been saying his goodbyes before his first ever deployment. Something he had worked so hard to accomplish and he was so proud that he was finally fulfilling his dream. And then his dream was, literally, blown up.
I wrote this three years ago, when I didn’t have many (or possibly any) followers, and I was a little bit more free with my words. The sentiment is still the same, except now it’s eight years instead of five. Some years Remembrance Day is ok. I can observe the day with little to no overflowing of emotion. Last year was like that. And the year before. This year, I have a feeling it’s going to hit me like a tonne of bricks.