New Meanings for Memorial Day

On Monday we celebrate Memorial Day.  This weekend is the traditional beginning of summer for the majority of the country and this year will be no different.  However, a year ago this weekend, Memorial Day took on a new meaning for my family and I.  We will never look at Memorial Day weekend the same.

You see, on May 30, 2011 (Memorial Day) just after 4 in the afternoon I received a the phone call from my parents that I had been dreading/waiting for all day.  They told me I needed to come to Birmingham where they had been staying for the last week with my brother and sister-in-law.  I needed to come and say goodbye to my 23-year-old baby sister who was laying in ICU with a heart that had given out and with probable brain damage due to the length of time she had gone without oxygen when her heart and lungs had failed the night before.  She was on life support and her vital organs had begun to shut down.  The doctors had told my family that there was no chance at recovery and to call the family in.  So we came.

I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time, 2 more weeks and I would not be allowed to travel due to my risk of premature labor.  I threw some clothes in a bag, put my 3-year-old in the back seat and said goodbye to my husband (being self-employed its near impossible for him to drop everything at the last second) and I drove off into the evening for an 8-hour trip through back Georgia roads to Birmingham, Alabama.  Outside of St Louis, my other brother, his wife and his father-in-law loaded their things into a car and headed the same direction.  My aunt jumped a plane, and my parents friends from Pensacola made their journey as well.  We all gathered the next morning for one more time together as a family…the Tucker 6 became no more just after 10am CST on May 31, 2011.

This weekend we honor those men and women who have served out country with honor, those that have given their lives and suffered injuries during their service.  In my own family, we will honor my brothers, my cousin, uncle, both of my grandfathers (one of whom passed away in 2009).  But we will also honor the memory of a 23-year-old graduate student, a daughter, sister, aunt, niece, cousin, granddaughter, and friend.  We will honor the memory of my baby sister, Amber-Marie.

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