National Grief Acknowledgment Day…. aka Memorial Day.

It’s Memorial Day weekend in the States.

cc license jon seb barberFor most people, that means cookouts, barbeques, parades, and a day off from work.

For the widowed community, and for families grieving the loss of a family member, it’s just one more day on the calendar we have to endure, rather than celebrate.

It’s one more gigantic “festive” event that we’re called to either ignore, or attend while pretending it isn’t just torturous to be there this way: without the ones we love.

And of course, the actual meaning of the holiday is rooted in grief: it’s meant as a weekend, a time, to remember those who have died in service to their country, or died after service to their country.

We have parades and fireworks to celebrate, or we get into heated political debates as to whether war should be happening or not, but both those ends of the spectrum miss the point:

People have died, and we miss them. People have died, and we need to remember who they were, where they were, why they died. 

Whether we agree with the “why,” the facts still remain. Someone died. And they left behind people like us, people like you: people with broken hearts, shattered lives, and empty spaces that cannot ever be filled.

cc license jon seb barberIn a sense, Memorial Day weekend should usher this country into our world: the every day reality of grief. Memorial Day should (or could) be a time when the whole nation bows its collective head to its collective heart, and says: ow. Ow. OW. This hurts.

It could, or it should, be a time when the whole country stops arguing and debating and generally just being jerks, and stands, silently, in awe of the lives that are gone, the lives that have been taken, and stands in respect for the broken hearts still beating, still living here, even after the one they love has died.

Acknowledgement. It could be a day of acknowledgement. Of entering into grief, if just for one short day. Beyond all the politics, beyond all the partying.

Just one day, where we all bow our heads and say: you were here, you lived, and you’re gone.


Just one day to feel into the reality of that grief. And just say – thank you.

And then – after the acknowledgment – then have a barbeque that celebrates life.

That would work for me.




flame-heart-100How about you? What is Memorial Day for you? Let us know in the comments.

Also – please check out the Writing Your Grief info page. A new session starts soon. We’d love to have you.