Memorial Day used to be a holiday that I looked forward to every year. As young twenty-somethings, we would go to Padre Island every year with a big group of friends. We’d take off work the Friday before to make it a long four-day weekend.
Now, many years later, the only thing Memorial Day reminds me of is the death of my “twenty-something” stepson. Although the intense feeling of loss, pain, and anger has lessened somewhat, a song on the radio, a commercial on TV, or driving down Greenville Avenue near the M-streets, can bring those feelings back in at the speed of light.
Occasionally, when my co-workers and I go out to lunch, and we end up at a restaurant somewhere on Greenville Avenue, near Martel. I don’t bring Curtis’s murder up every time, but it is always front and center for me. I know my friends remember. On my way home each day, driving east on I-30, at the Ferguson Road exit, I pass the funeral home and cemetery. Some days I’m listening to music or an audiobook – and if I’m listening intently, I might pass that exit without thinking of Curtis, his dad, and other family members who have followed them over the last six years, into life’s next journey.
I live in what used to be my grandmother’s home. She and my grand-dad built this house. She moved here when she was my age and lived here until she was 99 years old. Then she moved to a nearby nursing home until moving to Heaven at 106. It is a 58-year-old house and was in need of some updates when I moved here almost five years ago. One thing we still need to update is the floor. Curtis worked at Empire Today. Every time I see the Empire Today commercial, I think about the need to repair my floor, co-mingled with thoughts of Curtis.
On Memorial Day in 2006, Curtis and his girlfriend at the time were having dinner and drinks at J. Pepe’s on lower Greenville, near the M-streets. As they left the restaurant, walking down Martel where his car was parked, another group was exiting Kinki’s –a bar across the street from the restaurant. An argument ensued for some reason, and at the end of the night, our world forever changed.
I am not posting this blog to bring up sadness – really just reflection. I do remember Memorial Day 2006 more than others – and I don’t “look forward” to Memorial Day. But I don’t write this with sadness — more as just a way to share my thoughts. So, Memorial Day is a day for us to remember – remember our troops who have fought and died to ensure our freedom – enjoy some time off work, and a time for me to reflect on Memorial Day 2006, one that I will never forget.