2018/05/27

Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Da Goddess @ 11:59

I still very much miss the days when Little Dude and I walked Ft. Rosecrans, placing flags before the graves of those who served our country, be they military or military dependents. I miss the sight of all the scouts who were swarming the cemetery doing the same thing. I miss the time LD and I had after everyone else had left, time we used to explore, learn, remember, and revere those who not only answered the call to serve but gave all.

There is nothing as sobering as the sight of waves of headstones upon the sea of grass too vivid for the somber reflection taking place. But, perhaps, the grass really should be that green so there’s no mistaking the pale, bleached bone-white gravemarkers. Azure skies, searing green hills, white-as-bone gardens of stone. It’s haunting and humbling.

One could easily forget Memorial Day is more than a long weekend of BBQ, friends, and relaxation. Many do. I don’t. I know you, dear reader, don’t. Even so, I still need to post a reminder — as much for myself as for others. I need to remember. I WANT to remember. Those who gave themselves for this notion of freedom, of democracy, deserve our attention. It’s the simplest manner of honoring what they did and what we have.

____________

Another reminder of that for which our military fought, two stories of the realities of war. We were fortunate here in the US that our parents and grandparents weren’t evacuated, didn’t have to endure bombings as happened in England and Europe. They did, however, fear it could happen. So, read the two links above and join me in a moment of silence as I thank our military for fighting so hard to keep the war from our shores during WWII.

____________

Memorial Day Ft. Rosecrans, San Diego

ON ROSECRANS HILL
by Jeffrey T. Naas

On Rosecrans hill the grasses grow
Between the headstones row on row
That mark our place as in the sky
The gulls, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard against the surf below

We are the dead. Not long ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow
We chose for freedom’s cause to die
And now upon this hill we lie
As grasses green above us grow

We knew the price we had to pay
To keep the enemy at bay
We gave our all, we fought the fight
To keep aglow sweet freedom’s light
Remember this, we ask today

One thing we ask of those not slain
Will you fight on for freedom’s reign?
If war returns, as it well might
Will you take up the gallant fight?
Yes, answer us! You who remain

And so we lie here, asking still
If you, our sons, will have the will
To sacrifice as we did then
That your sons, too, may live free men
As we wait still, on Rosecrans hill

2017/05/28

Memorial Day 2017

Da Goddess @ 17:52

I miss those weekends with Little Dude. The weekends we spent at Ft. Rosecrans, planting flags before graves of those who served. I still get misty as I think of how seriously L.D. took his duties, how we’d stick around after everyone else left, walking amongst the tombstones. It was a sacred practice for us and precious, too.

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

Gardens of Stone sit in stillness
The lives of those buried here are mostly forgotten
They whisper to us, but rarely do we listen
And yet they speak volumes

In Gardens of Stone there reside
Those who served, at home and on the front
The wind scatters leaves and secrets
Speaking volumes of those who can no longer speak for themselves

In Gardens of Stone names are carefully etched
For family and friends to visit for a while
After many years, the visits taper off
Speaking volumes of our commitment to those who have died

In Gardens of Stone some of us wander
Searching for clues
Honoring the dead
Praying for their souls

In Gardens of Stone on this weekend
Everywhere you turn
You will see flags and flowers
Speaking volumes that we still care

In Gardens of Stone we pray
For those who continue the tradition
The sacred honor of protecting our way of life
We pray their service speaks volumes that war may
Someday be unnecessary

Until that time, we walk in Gardens of Stone
We gather to remember for those who cannot
For those who will not
Because the next to lie here will someday be just
Another name etched carefully in granite

In Gardens of Stone we are never alone
In Gardens of Stone we must continue
To pray and remember and learn
So that someday there may be smaller Gardens of Stone

__________________________________

For every name upon a stone that might ring familiar, there thousands more which we may not recognize nor find in any book. Their names, if we look long enough, become familiar to us, become part of our extended family. For they are the ones who secured our freedoms and allowed us the rights we enjoy today. The protesters on the street can do so because of these men and women. Those who cry out for freedom from religion (we’re guaranteed freedom of religion — to worship [or not] as we so choose) can do so because of these men and women. Those who demand this and demand that are able to do so because of these men and women. We can stand up and publicly deride our leaders because of these men and women. We are free to speak in English or any other language we chose because of those who lie in the Gardens of Stone.

Most will never have monuments. Most will never have books written about them. We can, however, take the time to remember, even if in general terms.

___________________________________

Memorial Day is not just about hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, the gatherings of friends and family, the drinks passed around the campfire. We’re free to do so, yes, but it is due to the sacrifices made by people whose names we’ll likely never know.

Please take a moment this weekend to give thanks to those who have served, to those who continue to serve, and honor them with a moment of silence. That’s the least we can do for them.

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

2014/05/25

Memorial Day 2014

Da Goddess @ 23:24

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

Gardens of Stone sit in stillness
The lives of those buried here are mostly forgotten
They whisper to us, but rarely do we listen
And yet they speak volumes

In Gardens of Stone there reside
Those who served, at home and on the front
The wind scatters leaves and secrets
Speaking volumes of those who can no longer speak for themselves

In Gardens of Stone names are carefully etched
For family and friends to visit for a while
After many years, the visits taper off
Speaking volumes of our commitment to those who have died

In Gardens of Stone some of us wander
Searching for clues
Honoring the dead
Praying for their souls

In Gardens of Stone on this weekend
Everywhere you turn
You will see flags and flowers
Speaking volumes that we still care

In Gardens of Stone we pray
For those who continue the tradition
The sacred honor of protecting our way of life
We pray their service speaks volumes that war may
Someday be unnecessary

Until that time, we walk in Gardens of Stone
We gather to remember for those who cannot
For those who will not
Because the next to lie here will someday be just
Another name etched carefully in granite

In Gardens of Stone we are never alone
In Gardens of Stone we must continue
To pray and remember and learn
So that someday there may be smaller Gardens of Stone

__________________________________

For every name upon a stone that might ring familiar, there thousands more which we may not recognize nor find in any book. Their names, if we look long enough, become familiar to us, become part of our extended family. For they are the ones who secured our freedoms and allowed us the rights we enjoy today. The protesters on the street can do so because of these men and women. Those who cry out for freedom from religion (we’re guaranteed freedom of religion — to worship [or not] as we so choose) can do so because of these men and women. Those who demand this and demand that are able to do so because of these men and women. We can stand up and publicly deride our leaders because of these men and women. We are free to speak in English or any other language we chose because of those who lie in the Gardens of Stone.

Most will never have monuments. Most will never have books written about them. We can, however, take the time to remember, even if in general terms.

___________________________________

Memorial Day is not just about hot dogs and hamburgers on the grill, the gatherings of friends and family, the drinks passed around the campfire. We’re free to do so, yes, but it is due to the sacrifices made by people whose names we’ll likely never know.

Please take a moment this weekend to give thanks to those who have served, to those who continue to serve, and honor them with a moment of silence. That’s the least we can do for them.

Gardens of Stone - Fort Rosecrans

2010/05/31

Memorial Day Tribute

DaGoddess @ 14:44


Memorial Day Tribute Arlington Cemetary

2010/05/28

Memorial Day

DaGoddess @ 16:28

This is the first time in years that Little Dude and I won’t be walking amongst heroes at Ft. Rosecrans over Memorial Day weekend. This causes my heart a good deal of pain. Not only is it tradition, but it’s something that means a great deal to both of us.

LD won’t be there. His dad opted to send him camping. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but then again I realize it’s not my decision. Also, as LD and I have discussed, only one of us at Ft. Rosecrans placing flags isn’t quite the same without the other.

Still, it hurts my heart to know that neither of us will be there. I can’t seem to find anything in Vegas that would give me the opportunity to do something similar. But I continue to look.

So, Memorial Day. Dare I even try to write anything new? I don’t think I can write anything better that what I’ve written in the past. Yet, I don’t feel right not saying anything.

I’ve said this many times before: I’m unabashedly patriotic. I don’t think we are a perfect nation by any means, but I do believe we offer more than any other country and I believe we are an incredible example of what democracy and liberty are all about. We are a great country and this country was borne of the efforts and from the blood of those who have dedicated themselves to protecting our freedoms. We can never take that for granted, nor should we ever forget. It is the one duty to which we are tasked. That is our piece of the puzzle.

And so it will be that this weekend I will find a way to do my part, to remember, to share, and to wave my flag. I hope, in between barbeques and beers, others do the same. I know you, gentle readers, will be doing your part. I know this because I know the quality of your character and I know the kind of heart that beats within you.

Photos from 2008:

2009/05/25

Memorial Day 2009

DaGoddess @ 00:01

2009 Memorial Day Flag

It’s pretty simple really: we are a free nation because brave men and women have served this country. They and their families have sacrificed much for over 200 years. Take moment, a day and give thanks for their service. Honor them by thanking those who currently serve or who you know have a military background. It’ll make them and you feel good.

If you disagree with me on this, it is your right because they fought for your right to disagree. If you speak your mind in public without fear of imprisonment or death, you do so because someone died for your right to do so.

I don’t know that I can say anything new or different this weekend than I have in the past. I do know that each year I feel the continued responsibility to do my best to uphold the tradition of honoring our military on Memorial Weekend with my son as we walk through Ft. Rosecrans National Cemetery. Of course, we don’t just think of them once a year — we do this year round — but for Memorial Weekend, it takes on special, deeper meaning.

As LD and I made our rounds this year, we spent a lot of time on details. And we were rewarded, as we usually are, with discoveries and insights that truly resonated for us.

This won’t be the last I write about Memorial Day, but for now, here’s a look at some of what I’ve written in the past:

2008 and two from 2005. Here’s some from 2004, too.

2009/05/24

Memorial Day Weekend in San Diego

DaGoddess @ 19:11

Memorial Day Ft. Rosecrans, San Diego

ON ROSECRANS HILL
by Jeffrey T. Naas

On Rosecrans hill the grasses grow
Between the headstones row on row
That mark our place as in the sky
The gulls, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard against the surf below

We are the dead. Not long ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunsets glow
We chose for freedom’s cause to die
And now upon this hill we lie
As grasses green above us grow

We knew the price we had to pay
To keep the enemy at bay
We gave our all, we fought the fight
To keep aglow sweet freedom’s light
Remember this, we ask today

One thing we ask of those not slain
Will you fight on for freedom’s reign?
If war returns, as it well might
Will you take up the gallant fight?
Yes, answer us! You who remain

And so we lie here, asking still
If you, our sons, will have the will
To sacrifice as we did then
That your sons, too, may live free men
As we wait still, on Rosecrans hill

2005/05/27

Memorial Day

DaGoddess @ 15:33

MemorialDay88.jpg
Memorial Day weekend is upon us. This is a time when we pay tribute to those who have made great sacrifices so that freedom and security would be ours – then, now, and in the future.

When thinking of the heroes of the past, we should also consider the heroes of today. Those who continue to uphold the oath they took upon joining the military deserve our support and respect. Their families deserve the same. Not a single soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine is out there alone. With each comes a mother, father, brother, sister, spouse, and/or child.

Perhaps, as you take a moment to reflect upon the gifts we enjoy as Americans, you could write a note to “Any Servicemember” and send it out right away. Include words of your gratitude and wishes for their safety.

No one serves without making sacrifices. Freedom isn’t free, as we all know. Our burden, as citizens, is to honor our warriors. We get a very light load when you consider what duties they have accepted.

This Memorial Day, ceremonies will be held across the nation to recognize our military men and women dating back to the beginning of America. Do your part. Say thank you. Stop in at a local cemetery and place a small flag on a veteran’s grave if no one else has. Look up at our flag with pride and respect. Send a letter or email.

Don’t let this weekend pass by without acknowledging the sacrifices our heroes have made.

2011/05/27

Memorial Weekend – Memory Lane

DaGoddess @ 22:05

I was thinking about once again not being back in San Diego with LD, doing our regular Memorial Weekend thing. This is the second year we’re not participating in the dressing of graves out at Ft. Rosecrans and it sits heavy on my heart.

Going through my archives, I found the entry from 2008 and it gave me pause. I was struck by the conversation I had graveside with a total stranger and how we were able to just start talking; how we both felt an overwhelming sense of needing to be there. It’s hard to be here instead of there and not be doing…something. So, since last year, I’ve found a place where I can go to honor America’s military. I’ll be heading down to Boulder City. I hope you are also able to take a moment to pay your respects to those who have and who do serve in our military, including their families.

Have a very safe Memorial weekend and feel free to share your stories in comments or with a link to your post. And if you happen to run across a veteran, please give thanks and/or a hug or handshake. I guarantee you’ll make someone’s day.

2018/05/06

This is My Dad

Da Goddess @ 22:06

Dad

This is my Dad. The photo is from 2009. I don’t have any recent pics with me, so this will do the job.

We — my sisters, brothers-in-law, LD, my mom, and I — are at the hospital with my Dad. Mojo will be here in the morning.

We’re saying our goodbyes.

Dad’s been in slow but steady decline for at least a year, with something new cropping up every month or so. It’s overwhelming for him and for my oldest sister. She’s the main caretaker and the one who has been in charge of all his legal and financial affairs.

It’s tough to see Dad so frail and so out of it. Yes, this was inevitable, but when are any of us ready for the death of a parent?

On Wednesday, big sis, C, took Dad to the doctor. Dad said he no longer wanted to deal with tests or another new diagnosis (weight loss on a noticeable scale) and he was ready for palliative care. They talked about hospice and covered all their bases.

I didn’t know this until yesterday. I mean, I knew he’d lost weight since Christmas, but there’s been ever more since. I knew he was in decline, but I was hoping he’d rally. Deep down, I think we’ve all hoped that.

It’s not to be.

My brother-in-law, D, found Dad on the floor, unresponsive this morning. I knew as soon as I saw my little sis’s number pop up on the phone that it wasn’t going to be good news. Then began the frantic scramble to get down here. KA has been out of town since Thursday, I’m without a car, I have Fletch. So, scramble scramble scramble. A friend was kind enough to drive 25 miles to get me, 90+ miles down, and another 90 miles back. I spent most of the trip talking about NOTHING… basically avoiding the topic of my dad dying.

The shock of seeing him as I walked in the room was something I don’t think I can adequately describe. Or maybe I don’t want to think about it that long. All I know is the man in the hospital bed was a mere shadow of my dad. He would occasionally open his eyes, but he wasn’t really there. His respiratory rate was high, heart rate low, and blood pressure low as well. He’d eaten nothing since Wednesday (and before that, Sunday), despite my sister’s best efforts. When I’d talked with C yesterday, I told her he was becoming dehydrated (the man does NOT do water) with his constant diarrhea and lack of liquid intake. That’s not good for anyone, but especially not someone with multiple critical diagnoses. Still, there’s no making horses or old men drink if they don’t want to drink.

I’ve been here several hours now. Dad’s settled into a regular room on the fourth floor. He’s getting 1mg of morphine per hour for comfort. We can increase the dose if necessary, but we’re trying to hold off on that until Mojo gets here in the morning. Morphine, great as it is for easing pain, also depresses the respiratory system. While Dad’s respiratory rate is high, he’s working awfully hard to get oxygen to the rest of his body. I’m hoping he’ll be less agitated now and his heart rate will come up, BP will come up, and his respirations slow and deepen. Better perfusion means a clearer mind.

Since none of that’s likely to have any affect on his overall prognosis, comfort is the best option. So, comfort it is.

The best thing about him getting the morphine is that he IS comfortable enough that he’s had lucid moments and I’ve been able to let him know I love him. He even smiled a bit when I told him Mojo’s on her way, that LD had been here, that we’re all here for him, that we all love him very much. Even Mom. (Had they stayed married, Memorial Day would have been their 60th anniversary! Instead, they’ve split the difference… married 30, divorced 30. Go figure. Parents. What’s a kid to do?)

C and D are home, getting a break from the “vigil”, grabbing a bite to eat. Little sis J is now at work, tending to (among other animals) a dog in hospice. Mom is back at her assisted living bachelorette pad. LD is at home, likely processing the shock of this. 21 and he’s not been witness to death like this. His great aunt died in January, but he only attended the wake. Seeing death as it slowly takes away a loved one is difficult, even when you know it’s coming.

Please pray for a sweet, gentle passage for my dad. Please pray Mojo gets here in time. And please pray that we all remember to tell those important to us how much we love them.

2009/05/20

Placeholder?

DaGoddess @ 05:56

Post would appear here.

If post were to appear here, this text would be unnecessary.

If this test text were unnecessary, it would be removed.

Also a photo could be inserted here. At which time, you would all oooooh and awwww and leave pleasing comments and lay money at the blogger’s feet. Because the photo would move you in ways unexpected. And because said blogger needs to be able to purchase a rather large quantity of 4×6 or 5×7 albums for an upcoming ginormous pre-deployment shoot (or two) for some Marines and their families. Not only that, she must also print 20-30 photos for said albums for said Marines so that they have a little lifeline to home.

(Tip jar on right sidebar works exactly as one would expect it should if this were a real post. Please throw all spare change in its way. The blogger would appreciate it greatly.)

All joking aside: With Memorial Day Weekend closing in on us, what better way to honor those who have come and gone by honoring those who have stepped into their combat boots and begun their march toward the American Way. San Diego has two large pre-deployment photo sessions coming up for our military and their families. Supplies are needed. Each Marine or Sailor deployed must receive an album 4×6 or larger (6×6 is the largest that fits into pockets on camo pants I hear), that can hold up to 30 photos. The books must be sturdy as they serve as a lifeline between the deployed and those left at home. Each photographer is then also responsible for sendng the completed book to wherever the person is deployed. The families pay not a single cent.

I did tell you I’d ask you for help when the time came. The time has come. Our first big shindig is in two and a half weeks and I must have my portion of the albums paid for prior to that time. What better time to ask than just before Memorial Day Weekend?

Also of note, this weekend, the Cigar Marine will be participating at the Glen Abbey Memorial Park in Bonita on Monday, May 25.

For those of you wondering why I’m getting involved with Operation: Love Reunited before my own personal finances are stable, go to Nick Popaditch’s website and you’ll understand. Each man and woman who deploys faces the unknown. I feel it’s my duty to give them an hour or two of family fun captured in photos to keep at their sides when they’re going into areas that are likely unsafe. I want them to feel the love and the power and the pride of the MANY who stand proudly behind them.

The album, it’s just a placeholder for the hearts of the people a Marine, Sailor, Airman, or Soldier. But it’s a placeholder with meaning. Not just for them, but also for me, for the other photographers, and for the community at large.

Anticipated expenses per family session are $15. If I shoot 25 families each time, that’s 50 families at $15/each and that comes in at $750 outlie for me. I don’t have it.

Why? Why would I even attempt this if I don’t have the money? Well, for one simple reason: for every family watching someone get on a boat or a plane and heading off to the unknown, they don’t know if there will be someone coming back or not. But they will have the memories of the session. The deployed will have their beautiful faces to keep him or her company when they are frightened, when they feel there’s no hope. It’s worth asking for help from you to give them that. I can do the photography. I can capture those memories. I can print and assemble and mail the albums off as long as I have your help. And I can be here if someone finds themselves in need of a shoulder to cry on. That’s what I can do. And I’m also going to include in every album a thank you note signed by me and in honor of those who have donated to make this possible.

What can you do?

* Pam’s daughter Tonie is going to donate a Creative Memories Album for one lucky donor! If you make a donation to this effort, please make sure you leave a comment. Between today and July 7, 2009 (gives me plenty of time to purchase all the albums before the first big event on the 13th), leave a comment after you’ve made your donation. Your comment will be numbered and all the comments will go into the hopper. A number will be selected and the winner will receive this special Creative Memories Album.

2018/07/17

Finding Room

Da Goddess @ 17:41

I keep trying to find room for my grief and everything else in my life. It’s almost as if I have to choose between them.

Of course, my pain issues are also trying to hog the spotlight and I’m exhausted from all the juggling.

Weariness doesn’t even come close to what I feel. Emotionally and physically, I’m depleted. I have no spoons* for anything beyond getting up to go to the bathroom, making toast, and feeding the cat. Showering is necessary, but it’s at a respectable 4th or 5th on my list. I just don’t have any gas left in the tank.

I wonder when and/or how any of this is going to change.

* Spoon theory states that you have a spoon (representing energy) for every task you perform throughout the day. However, you only have a certain number of spoons available per 24 hour period. For people with chronic illnesses, pain, or disabilities you often have to use more spoons to accomplish a simple task. Sometimes you borrow from tomorrow, but you never know what the consequences of doing that will be. For instance, Dad’s memorial took almost all my spoons for that day and some from the day after. The next day, I was stuck in bed, unable to move without great effort and pain. Too much standing and moving around. Try assigning 15 spoons to all your most important activities in a single day. Anything requiring more effort gets more than one spoon.

…..

…..

…..

How’d that work for you? Now add in grief and anxiety. It’s taxing, to say the least.

2018/06/15

On My Way

Da Goddess @ 12:03

On my way to San Diego for Dad’s memorial on Monday. Lots to do before then.

I’m so grateful to have my sisters, their husbands, Mom, and the kids. Wish Dad were still alive, but there’s nothing we can do about that. All we can do is celebrate the man he was and what he meant to us.

2018/06/06

Uh Oh

Da Goddess @ 00:38

Just realized Dad’s memorial is the day after Father’s Day.

That’ll be a heavy weekend.

2014/10/15

Home & Death

Da Goddess @ 01:07

The best part of traveling for me these days is returning home. As much as I’d like to really enjoy being out and about, the simple fact is my body doesn’t agree with my head and my heart.

After I recovered from the faire, we had the drive to contend with. It was exceedingly painful. My shoulder was frozen up again. My right leg and hip were locked and painful. My left leg and hip were grinding as if there were glass on raw nerve once again. I medicated for the drive and was shit for company for poor King Arthur the entire way home. God bless this man! He puts up with so much of my physical pain beyond what most people would. I cannot begin to tell you how very much that means to me. Yes, he gets mad and yes, we argue about it, but when all is said and done, he’s exceedingly patient and helpful when I’m going through the worst of it. If I didn’t already love him so much, that would certainly seal the deal.

Because the meds I’m taking do a number on my dreams and sometimes on my partially-sleepy mind, and because of a few recent events, I got to thinking about what I’d want to have happen at my memorial should I die. Don’t go getting worried! I’ve always been this way. I plan for the future.

One thing I want to have happen at my memorial service (and I hope there would be one!) is to have a playlist already picked out. You know, music that means something to me. Music that moves me deeply now. Music that would hopefully lift the spirits of those in attendance. (You have to plan these things or else someone who doesn’t know you puts together the most dreadful stuff!) Of course, all that got me thinking about what kind of legacy I’d leave behind and, you know what I got? Nothing. Instead of depressing me, it gave me pause. It makes me wonder how I’d be remembered, leaving me feeling as if I’d betting get my priorities in order and start being the sort of person who would be missed after I go.

Weird, huh? But that’s where I’m at. And I’m okay with that. It’s given me a great deal to think over.

What about you? Any plans on how you’d like to leave this mortal coil?

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