Sunday, May 25, 2014

Charlie Mike

Let me be completely honest and say that I was trying very earnestly to try and slide by Memorial Day without getting too overwhelmed by it.  I ordered my flowers for the grave at the end of last week.  I was going to be in the area of the grave today, so I just planned on making my visit and taking flowers there today with the girls before heading back home, and we did.  And as for actual Memorial Day, I have made very low-key plans to be with my girls, go to the park and spend time with great friends and their son.  

Please let me explain, why I was trying to have a low-key day tomorrow.  I have had multiple “big” days lately.  They all have just collided together.  My emotions were ungovernable, my thoughts were continually straying, and quite frankly, I was just unsettled.  I have been bouncing back and forth since the middle of April on an emotional pogo stick.  (And for someone who has motion sickness, this seriously needs to stop.)  I literally just rebounded back to a sense of normalcy this week, and BAM! Hello, Memorial Day! 

So, I had this fabulous idea that I would try and coast through Memorial Day.  Don’t think too much about it, don’t over do it, don’t, don’t, don’t.  It’s just too much for me right now.  But, guess what, it doesn’t matter.  I don’t get a say for when these days are going to fall on my schedule.  Yes, it is absolutely too much for my brain, heart, and emotions to take right now after such a terribly sensitive and emotional past few weeks, and yet, it’s still here, and as much as I need a break, it’s just not something that is in the cards right now.  I can’t coast through it, I can’t skip it, I can’t make it lighter.  It is literally all around me, and there’s no hiding from it.  So now what do I do?

Here we are then, Memorial Day.  What is Memorial Day?  According to the Department of Veteran Affairs it states that, “Memorial Day, which is observed on the last Monday of May, commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service."
Memorial Day is a time to focus on the brave men and women who sacrificed their lives in the line of duty.  It is a day to remember, honor, and respect those fallen soldiers.  It is a day specifically given to them. 

I am a member of a couple Military Widows Groups.  I have seen how my fellow widows are dealing with the day.  We all deal with days differently.  Widow Friend #1 visits Arlington every Memorial Day to see her spouse’s grave.  It is quite a trip for her, but she does it without fail.  Widow Friend #2 also goes to Arlington.  She not only visits her husband’s grave, but she also asks other widows, who are unable to go to Arlington, if they would like to share their spouses plot number so she can visit the grave for them, as well.  Widow Friend #3 honors her spouse by eating his favorite foods that day and watching his favorite movie.  Widow Friend #4 signs off of all social media.  After a few years of seeing how Memorial Day was not, by most, being used as a way to honor the fallen, which includes her spouse, she signs off from the world so she can honor him and other fallen without feeling offended by others.  Each widow different, yet each the same.  So where does that leave me, a widow trying to have a low-key day?  I want to honor him and other fallen, and not push myself to a breaking point either.  I don’t want to step over the edge.

I read an article in the Washington Post yesterday by Mike Jason, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, titled “‘Charlie Mike’ on Memorial Day.”   It was a very interesting article from the perspective of a man who served and unfortunately had to see too many of his comrades die.  Feel free to read the article by clicking HERE.  I really enjoyed the article.  Some of the comments below his article are a little hard to swallow, but I know that we all have different opinions on matters, and that’s okay.  My all time favorite part of the article though, is actually the title, ‘Charlie Mike’ on Memorial Day.”     

“Charlie Mike” are actually the code words for C and M in the Military Phonetic Alphabet.  Rhea used to use the Military Phonetic Alphabet ALL THE TIME!  Not just for military stuff, but with me, at work, in regular phone conversations with friends, in emails to me, etc.  It makes me smile now, but it was kind of annoying then  :)  Anyway, as I was saying, “Charlie Mike” are the code words for the letters C and M, and typically “Charlie Mike” when used in the military means to “continue the mission”, or “move forward with the mission as planned.” 

I think Rhea would tell me to “Charlie Mike” my Memorial Day.  I’ll spend it with my girls having a low-key day as planned.  I’ll honor him by finding and being thankful for all the ways that my two little girls remind me of him.  I’ll listen to them laugh at the park and let my heart be warmed by their joy.   I’ll have my moments throughout the day to remember him, and then I'll bring my mind back to my girls.  Really, every day is Memorial Day for us, this is how every single day is for us.   But this day, Memorial Day, was given for him and for the other soldiers that fell before him and after him.  I will remember and think of all who sacrificed their lives for us.  Not just my husband, but Widow #1’s and #2’s and #3’s and #4's…and unfortunately so many more. 

Remember them…Honor them…Respect them…And Charlie Mike!

1 comment:

  1. Wish I could wrap you in a big hug. We all 'Charlie Mike' in different ways. I have been strengthened by the way you do. Our thoughts are with your family, and so many others on this day to remember. Thank YOU for your service to a military spouse and all that comes with that.