Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Morning of Memorial Day (Memoir, Prose)

Another holiday without my children… another day of silence where there should be prayer, family coming together to remember our fallen soldiers, and those who have served. Another day of emptiness, when there should be the richness of tradition, and patriotism, taught to the next generation. Another tear to shed as the flags wave, as the other families gather to picnic, my family will be torn apart, as will my heart.


On the morning of Memorial Day, my children are woke by the blaring of horns and the screech of a fire engine whistle. They run to the window, their sleepy faces being rubbed awake by gentle sunshine. Below the window they can see Main Street, where the Memorial Day parade begins, the bright red fire trucks leading the way, followed by rows of veterans waving flags.

The community gathers along the sidewalks, cheering and waving small flags. Tootsie rolls are thrown into the waiting hands of children. The veterans proudly wear their uniforms, and are greeted with handshakes or hugs.

Every lamp post and utility pole along Main Street is decorated with flags., the parade begins beneath a banner of stars. The instruments of the marching band are polished to a golden shine, they proudly play patriotic songs steeped in history and memory, stirring our heart with the clash of cymbals, the pounding of drums, the burst of the horns.

Collector cars pass in jeweled colors—jade, golden topaz, ruby and sapphire adorned with graceful fins, chrome wheels, and elaborate hood ornaments.

The Boy Scouts in their blue uniforms march, the Girl Scouts ride in a wooden wagon pulled by a tractor.

Dogs of all sizes stroll down the street, their tails wagging with excitement.

The parade fills our home with cheer, and when it ends I will turn up the music, my daughter tunes the radio to a dance song. The children play as I fry eggs and bacon, every once in awhile I will pop my head into the living room to remind them of what Memorial Day is about. We will pray for the soldiers before breakfast begins, and pray for this country. I will turn off the radio to put in Gospel, so my children can have a moment of reverence.

I hope now my children will remember what I have taught them, and that they always know how much I love them.

-- Daylen Swift

For My Children: Bear and Nora, you are in my heart always. I pray for you every day. And love you with all of my heart. xoxox Mommy xoxox

Monday, May 26, 2014

Build Me a Son Quote Douglas MacArthur

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak,

and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid,

one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat,

and humble and gentle in victory. ~ Douglas MacArthur

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Mother's Day Without My Mother: Quotes About Mothers, Tips for Grief & Loss

I want my children to know it is NOT normal to spend Mother's Day without your Mom. I am so sorry I could not be with you. I am so sorry we have to be apart, you did not do anything wrong, our family is just going through a hard time right now. And I pray that one day we will be together again. I love you so much, and thank God for you every day! You are the best Mother's Day present any mother could ask for.


Mother's Day is a special holiday to celebrate the love a mother has for her children, and the special role she has in the lives of her children, and in her family as a whole. Mother's Day is time to spend time with your mother,and celebrate family.

Typical Mother's Day celebrations include: sharing a meal, giving a gift to your Mom/Grandma or other special Mother in your life, spending time together, playing games, visiting relatives, looking at family photos, going on a picnic, going to church etc.

“But behind all your stories is always your mother's story, because hers is where yours begins.” -- Mitch Albom, "For One More Day" 

"To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power."-- Maya Angelou

"Life began with waking up and loving my mother’s face." -- George Eliot

"The mother is everything-she is our consolation in sorrow, our hope in misery, and our strength in weakness. She is the source of love, mercy, sympathy, and forgiveness. He who loses his mother loses a pure soul who blesses and guards him constantly." -- Kahlil Gibran

"As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you; and you will be comforted over Jerusalem. When you see this, your heart will rejoice and you will flourish like grass..."-- Isaiah 66: 13-14

"My mom and I have always been really close. She's always been the friend that was always there. There were times when, in middle school and junior high, I didn't have a lot of friends. But my mom was always my friend. Always." -- Taylor Swift

Christina Rossetti is a famous poet (1830-1849), the first poem she ever wrote, at age 11, was a poem to her mother:

To My Mother

To-day’s your natal day,
Sweet flowers I bring;
Mother, accept, I pray,
My offering.

And may you happy live,
And long us bless;
Receiving as you give
Great happiness.


* The holidays will bring up reminders of the loss, and what life was like before the loss.

Bonnie Rubenstein, EdD, says the holidays are time for increased sensitivity,"A grief burst—a normal experience after losing a loved one—may be triggered by the sight or sound of the holidays in a retail store, the smell of the holidays at home or in school, the taste of a favorite holiday dish once prepared by a loved one, or by a memory."

It's okay to feel stronger emotions around a holiday or other special occasion. Those emotions may want to make you cry, scream, be alone, avoid reminders of the loss or sleep more; that's normal. It's okay if you need extra help or support.  Or just need a friend to be by your side.

*Crying and laughing are both great way to release emotion. Or you could try: physical exercise (dance, running, biking etc), taking a walk in nature, journaling or writing a story, drawing, praying... what is important is that you take care of yourself, and do things that give you a positive boost of energy.

*It's okay to move on, or have fun or laugh. Part of the grieving process is making peace or coming to acceptance. If you find yourself having fun or laughing that's okay. It DOES NOT mean you have forgotten your loved one or don't care. That special person will always be a part of your heart, and your life.

*Celebrate the loved one, and what they meant to your life in a meaningful way on the holidays- release a balloon, say a prayer, read a special poem/Bible verse, listen to music, visit a place that was important to you, volunteer, spend time with family etc. Expressing your grief in a positive way, that gives you a sense of purpose, can help you heal and make peace with the loss. 

*Reach out for help or support if you need-- friends, church, family, counselor, school counselor are all great people to reach out to. Some churches or community organizations also offer support groups.

-- Daylen Swift, May 2014

For More:

"Grief and Loss: Tips on How we Can Help Those Affected" by John Tsilimiparis:

"School Counseling Expert Offers Tips to Help Kids Cope with Grief and Loss During the Holiday Season" by Bonnie Rubenstein EdD:

Scriptures for Comfort During Grieving: