Earlier this year, I went to some memorial services where John along with other deceased members were honored…. Harford Cecil Volunteer Fireman’s Association and Community Fire Company of Rising Sun’s banquet. It broke my heart to see that some people didn’t even have a single family member of friend show up for the ceremony.
Seriously, how sad is it that not a single person can show up? Does nobody care? Does nobody love that person anymore? Has the person been forgotten? Was the person so despicable that nobody liked them? Does nobody appreciate the service to the fire company?
Now, I’m one of those people and I’m hating myself for it. I feel like I let John down.
This weekend, tomorrow, September 11th- specifically, John along with other firefighters will be honored at the International Association of Fire Fighters’ Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial Service in Colorado.
I want to be there.
So why the fuck am I not there?
The big answer is money. Plane tickets aren’t cheap… then there would be a rental car… and hotel. If I took Nathaniel with me, it would be another plane ticket. I priced plane tickets for weeks and they were expensive.
If I don’t take Nathaniel with me… then I have to have somebody watch him. I’d have to have somebody take care of the critters and six horses, a dog, and three cats are a little more challenging to care for than a goldfish.
And with kiddo it’s a double edged sword… if I left him, I’d worry. If I took him my stress levels would be through the roof… my blood pressure rises going to the grocery store…. trying to keep a two year old quiet and entertained through a quiet and solemn memorial service would be more than challenging. Single parenting SUCKS.
The reality is the cost of the trip could be used for a lot more practical things… it buys a lot of hay… pays the electric bill for months, puts gas in the cars… you get the picture. I’m in a situation where I don’t know where I’ll be in 10 years financially… insurance money only stretches so far and John’s income would have covered that in just a few years. So, that’s why I’m not there.
I’d love to have a tracing from the wall, the flag, and program. I’d love to be there for the experience… it will be a beautiful and touching ceremony and my beloved John will be included. But, seriously, who knows if that will happen. Those things are probably reserved for those who care enough to show up. When, I e-mailed the lady at IAFF to tell her I wouldn’t be able to attend for financial reasons and my e-mail was never even returned. Maybe I offended by bringing up one of the real issues with those left behind. Memorial services are great, but sometimes there are more important needs that need to be addressed, but the REAL needs aren’t as pretty or touching and they are sad, painful, cold hard truths. They don’t make pretty pictures filled with flags and salutes and they won’t make the local news. Like so many things in this widow experience… I won’t be holding my breath waiting for a flag.
Bottom line- I feel like I’ve let John down. I’m hating myself this weekend. It was a hard decision and one that I’ve agonized over for months. I think John would understand, but he’d be sad that I wanted to go and can’t. He’d be sad that I have to worry about money, when I didn’t before.
I feel like I should be there. Now I’m one of “those” people.