One Year, Two Parents – A Final Goodbye

Memorial Day has always been special, but the last two have been different.

Last year, I decorated my mother’s almost bare grave where nothing but the mortuary’s sign was standing.  I was the one to place her American Legion Auxiliary flag and cross to recognize her service as a civilian in the organization that works with veterans, for veterans, by veterans.  I watched the Memorial Day ceremony thinking of the years she once participated in that very special ceremony.

This year, I decorated a grave marked by a beautiful blue stone with both my mother and my father’s name etched into the glistening stone.  I was there as flags and crosses were placed for both of them.

This year, I sat with my uncle and close friends through the ceremony I feel like I have memorized.

This year, the ceremony became real. Family friends have passed on, leaving a legacy of shenanigans and military service that we have not forgotten.

This year, it is real; my family name is on that list.

Ronal D. Johnson, 1950-2017, United States Marine

This year, I cried.

Rifle salute. Taps. Flag raising.

I cried.

In January dad received his full military honors, I thought it felt real then.  Nothing, I think, could prepare me for Memorial Day.

It was such an honor that dad was selected to have his flag flown center circle during the ceremony and I will be forever thankful for this special moment.


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I'm a twenty something learning to navigate the world.

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