Memorial Day Memories & Miracles

Let me start by saying I’m doing my my civic duty to educate any readers who weren’t sure what yesterday’s Memorial Day signifies here in our country.

Cities all around the United States hold their own ceremonies on the last Monday in May to pay respect to the men and women who have died in wars or in the service of their country.

Memorial Day is not limited to honor only those Americans from the armed forces. It is also a day for personal remembrance. Families and individuals honor the memories of their loved ones who have died. Church services, visits to the cemetery, flowers on graves or even silent tribute mark the day with dignity and solemnity. It is a day of reflection. However, to many Americans the day also signals the beginning of summer with a three-day weekend to spend at the beach, in the mountains or at home relaxing.

The above is an excerpt from this website in case you want to prepare your next year’s homeschool lesson and you need more history, quizzes, puzzles and fun about Memorial Day. Oh yeah, I am a planner – just ask my kids about those homeschooling years and how organized I was. Always getting things ready a year in advance. I’m like that.

I do hope that you were able to take a little time to say a quiet prayer or pay special tribute to our armed forces who continue to serve our country with such honor.

So many relatives and friends have served that if I started to list them, I know I would leave someone out. Right now, my cousin Sally’s son, Rob, is serving in Iraq.

And of course, you all got to read the special words my friend Ann’s husband shared right here.

There is never a time that a story or a picture of our our military doesn’t choke me up.

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(Arlington National Cemetery – May 22, 2008) — Flags stand vigil at gravesites in Arlington National Cemetary. The 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) began their rounds to place a small American flag into the ground in front of every grave marker at Arlington National Cemetery for the upcoming Memorial Day observance. (Photo by Adam Skoczylas).

Memories

But Memorial Day does more than choke me up.

Every year PhilBillPaul and I take time to remember how our lives changed and what we have survived.

Today marks 20 years to the day.

May 27th, 1988.

The day we were hit head-on by a drunk driver.

We never forget the irony of that Memorial Day weekend when we went to see this movie before the crash.

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I’ll never forget the stories of what happened that I’ve been told. Because I really don’t remember anything.

The phone call he had to make to Illinois to tell my parents.

The last thing my mom remembers him saying before they hung up.
“Oh, and you should probably know she’s on a respirator.”

PhilBillPaul has always had a way with words. This time we didn’t argue about it.

It’s hard to argue when you’re in a coma…

Eleven days in a coma.

I’ve lost count of how many times people have asked…

Do you remember waking up?

Could you hear people talking to you?

Did you see a white light?

No, no and no.

I do vaguely remember pulling out my IV and other various tubes because I needed to get all the doctors together for a conference call to Portugal.

Who knew they gave coma patients such big responsibilities?
(I think this is also called hallucinating.)

I am still not sure where Portugal is.

I clearly remember my mom telling me to behave and answer the doctors’ questions correctly or they would think I was crazy. I remember her telling me through gritted teeth “This is no time to be funny.”

See, I was funny before the coma. Some people think I’m still funny.

So much to learn when you wake up from a coma.

Did you know that when you have been hospitalized for close to 30 days that you shouldn’t raise your arms up when you have guests? Luckily my mom was there to motion from across the room and hiss whisper
“Put your arms down!”

“WHY?” I said in a very loud voice.

More hand gestures and pointing and my brain worked well enough at that moment to realize that visitors didn’t want to see four weeks of my new European unshaven look.

Whatever. Like I really cared. I was alive.

Miracles

Brain injury, rehab, therapy…

I believe.

20 years later, I believe more than ever.

Tonight, after we put Scary Baby to bed, we might even get crazy and watch the DVD we have of the crash scene and me being loaded on the LifeFlight helicopter to remind our three driving teenagers that they are not in control of everything.

Who knew that an ambulance chaser with a new video camera would provide us with such a teaching tool for our then, yet-to-be-born children?

Don’t think we’re being morbid. We will have popcorn and celebrate, I promise!

I hope you and your loved ones remain safe and happy.

I truly hope you all enjoyed a three day weekend filled with fun memories and fabulous miracles…

Life Lesson (LL): Little or big. They’re all around us. Miracles happen every single day.

Share a Life Lesson (SALL): Feel free to ask me any *coma* questions…people still seem to be fascinated and I don’t mind. 🙂 Share a miracle in your life…your miracle can serve as such inspiration for someone else!

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Comments

  1. 1
    nancy says:

    As I read your post this a.m. I was wondering if you were going to mention any of the funny stuff about your accident. I actually couldn’t really remember specifically what I was looking for—-until I hit the Portugal comment. I can barely type, in fact. Tears are still flowing from my eyes. Loved the story then….and it’s a perfect start to my day today! Thank you for the boost. 🙂

  2. 2
    Sherra says:

    nancy » I’m always glad to “find the funny” in the little coma miracle story. Maybe we should plan a trip to Portugal? Girlfriend retreat…let’s ponder that. 🙂

  3. 3
    Steff says:

    ALL of your entries are great, but this one really made me think – and laugh. Glad, too, to know that I’m not the only one who cries over pics and stories about our soldiers. In fact, I want to SO BADLY tell them “thank you” and what a hero they are when I see anyone in uniform – at the airport, in a restaurant, etc., but I start CRYING and can’t get it out! Isn’t that silly?!?!?!?! So, I’ve resigned myself to just quietly pray for that particular person (or people) and when I’m praying for peace, protection, and strength for them and their families, I also add a little request that they’ll feel how appreciated they are even when I can’t physically tell them. UUGGGHHH! I HATE that I cry so easily!

  4. 4
    Sherra says:

    Steff » I absolutely feel the same way and watch those volunteers at the airport and want to be one. Then I realize I would spend the whole day crying and that I need to find another way to say thanks. I love your tip of a quiet prayer and know it’s the very LEAST we can all do!

  5. 5
    Colleen says:

    Sherra,
    I’m thankful daily for our troops and for friends like you. How you can make me laugh about your pits being hairy when I’m trying to get into the moment about your coma???? Great entry and I can’t wait until I get them by e-mail–I get so behind.

  6. 6
    Sherra says:

    Colleen » Longer sleeves on hospital gowns should be a requirement for so many reasons. Wanna come to Portugal with me and Nancy? 🙂

  7. 7
    julieann says:

    Steff,
    I understand what you mean about the “thank you.” A good friend of mine in CA sent me a video clip that shows how you can say thanks to soldiers you see at the airport and in uniform around town. Go to http://www.gratitudecampaign.org It’s about a three minute long clip showing how to say thank you. I believe it makes use of American Sign Language. While in view of the soldier you place your hand over your heart and then take your palm away from your body, lowering it down toward your waist while you mouth the words, “Thank you.” It will make you cry, Sherra and Steff. The week before Memorial Day we had a soldier from our small CO city of 60,000 who was killed in Afganistan. After his funeral, people lined the streets waving American flags as the hearse passed by. The schools along the route dismissed the students so that they could participate and it was overwhelming to see thousands of folks all along the three mile route. It made me realize that each of those soldiers stands in my place. It’s my country that they fight for and my freedom that they are protecting. It’s me that they’re fighting for and I’m so terribly grateful for that. So unworthy of their sacrifice, but ever so grateful.

  8. 8
    Sherra says:

    julieann » I think it’s the mother in all of us that makes us so emotional and sometimes unable to even speak. We know that every soldier has a mother and what their sacrifice means for our families and our freedom. Sometimes, it is really just too big to put into words. Well said, Julie and thanks for great link! I actually have seen that and I’m not sure I can watch again – it gives me goosebumps just thinking of it.

  9. 9
    Ann says:

    Memorial Day is a day of sadness and of celebration in our house. We celebrate that Dan is home with us and we will forever be saddened by the deaths of all military personnel. We are especially saddened by the death in 2005 of Sgt. Kyle Wehrly who served proudly in Dan’s unit in Iraq. This past weekend, Dan and I discussed the anniversary of your accident, Sherra, and I’ve got to tell you again that I love you. I’m still never gonna watch the video and you can’t make me!!! Portugal…COUNT ME IN!! XO

  10. 10
    Leigh Anne says:

    Can I go too????

  11. 11
    Sherra says:

    Ann » Love you too honey 🙂 Quit acting like I’ve tried to make you watch the video. LOL

    Leigh Anne » I think we have four in for the Portugal trip so let’s starting working on that and pick the date! I hear you know where Portugal is so I’m appointing you our tour guide. 🙂

Trackbacks

  1. […] Back in May, I offered to answer any coma questions. […]

  2. […] actually made that life decision long before I became a drunk driving statistic and a severe head injury […]

  3. […] I started to look for a generic, patriotic picture of soldiers so I could write a quick blog post and remind you all to take a few minutes before the end of your day to remember what this day is all about. […]