It’s hard to put pure emotion into prose.
I spent an afternoon running through a glacially fed river that only went waist deep in 80 degree weather with friends and a dog, grinning like an 8 year old. I laughed at myself as I stumbled over silt bars, slipped, tripped, and leapt through the refreshing goodness
Today I didn’t get to lose myself completely in my corner cry. Instead, I went on a flight through the mountains, and in complete awe of the jagged peaks surrounding Haines, I shed a discrete tear. I took a walk through the town and wore sunglasses to hide the evidence. I had a wonderful lunch under a gazebo by the water, and used my napkin to wipe the salt laden drops cascading towards my neck.
I remembered. I cried. I had not the chance to sob, but my heart broke nonetheless.
When I was a young Sergeant, a mother sobbed uncontrollably on my low quarters when I worked the funeral detail for her 19-year-old boy, and it still haunts me. I hear her wails when I least expect it. The sound of pure agony and loss. A parent who has outlasted their child. A realization that nothing will ever be the same. An awareness of the unfairness.
The memorials haunt me. The empathy for the families, who surely don’t celebrate Memorial Day with beer and burgers, but with a longing for the beautiful person who has left behind an empty seat at the picnic table, breaks my heart.
I wish for them to be able to feel my excitement. I want to spread it, pass it around, getting as many people infected with liberation from misery as I possibly can. I want them to be able to smile through the day with positive memories after a good cry, because we all know the cry has to happen in one form or another. Maybe a corner cry, maybe just a tear on a small plane in the mountains of Alaska.
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.