The following message was reprinted from the American Hero blog by permission of Michael & Lynn Klasno, Gold Star Parents of Sgt Rhys W. Klasno.
I’m spinning. It’s the time of the year I am sure. My thoughts and feelings are jumbled up in my head; happiness and sadness, anticipation and disappointment, crowds and loneliness. This is the time of family traditions. It is also the time that we brood on traditions gone awry.
We think about how our Christmas seasons, in fact all of our holidays, have changed since our heroes left us. We see light-hearted moods, joy and happiness, but we feel a sliver of our own happiness is gone and cannot be retrieved. For some suffering a recent loss, the holiday season becomes positively dismal. What is there to celebrate, after all?
My answer? Celebrate a life. Celebrate a life well-lived. Remember all of those funny memories of your hero. Remember the accomplishments. Remember their friends. Tell their stories. Hear stories about them from others. Share your pride in the man or woman your hero became; a person that chose to defend the ideas of freedom no matter what the cost. Celebrate the impact your hero had on others, no matter how small. Celebrate all who are left behind to honor forever the memory of your son or daughter.
No matter what the circumstances, a tragic loss can become a building block in the time we spend on this earth. Our lives are made up of building blocks of experiences that we cobble together and call our life. The blocks are not always the perfect cube selected off the top of the pile, but those blocks were given to us with divine instructions to put it together and make it count. Our pile of life’s building blocks is selected before we even appear on this earth, known as we are by our Creator before we are in the womb.
Our heroes’ lives count. They may not have turned out the way we wanted but their lives are perfect, important, and worth remembering. That’s the joy of this season and every season. Celebrate that life and give thanks you were chosen to be a part of it.