Remembering widows on Memorial Day

I never really cared about Memorial Day. Or President’s Day. I should toss in Labor Day too. These holidays always felt like filler holidays for me. Until recently I just missed the point of Memorial Day. Was it about remembering everyone who died? Was it like Veteran’s Day but with a different name?

Memorial Day has always been the unofficial start of summer. So, naturally, I associate it with barbeques and green grass. Door buster savings and beer runs kick off this three-day weekend. Lawns are proudly mowed. Beer is cracked open under sunny skies. The best plans ever are made for summer.

But then a few months ago I started blogging. I began writing about all this crazy motherhood stuff and as I started to post it I slowly began to be initiated into the Mom Blogger community. And you know what? I found a bunch of truly lovely and marvelous women writers.

A few of these lovely and marvelous women are single mothers.

At first I had imagined that they are single mothers because they got divorced. Or maybe they had made some questionable life choices and were making the best of tough circumstances. Or maybe they were ultra-feminists. I didn’t know. I didn’t ask.

It turns out that I did not have to ask. These few Mom Bloggers are widows. Their husbands had died while serving our country. They have been left to grieve their losses while the world around them churns on.

People say well intentioned but cruel things to them.

You’re so young, you’ll marry again.

As I read their posts I realized just how damn lucky I am. My husband is a boat builder. He will never see war. His greatest risk of death will likely be something common like a heart attack. Or old-age.

For Memorial Day as I pick up the cold beer and help my husband get the grill ready for a few rounds of hot dogs and burgers, I will be distracted by thoughts of these fearless women. I will be sending them my gratitude and love.

Their husbands made incredible sacrifices for our country and I am deeply proud and thankful.

I cannot relate to what a military family life is like. I do not know the pain of loss from war. But as a mother of two young sons, I can certainly feel in my heart of hearts the words of worry and strength that these women have shared.

While we are giving our thanks and gratitude to those who sacrificed their lives for our country, please take a moment to remember the families who are left behind. If you are feeling generous and are in a financial place where you can afford to donate please consider checking out these amazing organizations.

American Widow Project

Wounded Warrior Project

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day!

Sarah Cottrell

About Sarah Cottrell

Sarah Cottrell is a member of the Stay-At-Home-Mom Club and proud herder of two loud boys. She earned her MFA in 2012 and then accidentally washed it in a load of laundry. Sarah's work can be found on popular websites like Mamalode, BlogHer, and Scary Mommy. Her work will appear in two new parenting anthologies in 2015.