Simplifying Memorial Day

I woke up on Monday morning feeling a dark cloud over my heart. I was on the verge of tears all day long. Why? I really don’t know why that Day set me off so much. Every day is hard, but I had to pull myself out of bed and force a smile on my face that day. Celebrating Memorial Day once meant swimming, barbecues and over eating. While I want to continue to keep those traditions going for my children, I couldn’t help but feel the need for a new set of traditions as I woke up that morning. I know Memorial Day is meant to honor soldiers that made the ultimate sacrifice and gave the gift of freedom. But, I do feel that my baby gave the ultimate sacrifice in his own way. I have a deep belief, possibly hope, that one day the world of pediatric cancer will be changed because of Hayes. He is my hero!

We woke up for the holiday and decided to take the kids up to Park City, Utah. It was so beautiful. The hills were so green and we all felt Hayes close. Fittingly enough, I saw several butterflies. It is strange how after you lose someone you love, you see them in everything, even a butterfly flitting above the grass. We call them “Hayes Hints” or love notes from Hayes. We drove to the Big White Barn and decided to check it out. Both Steve and I had never experienced the famous white barn so it felt like the perfect activity to start off our day. The barn was charming and had a definite Magnolia Silos vibe.  

Later we bought flowers for Hayes and took them to his perfect resting spot. We chose big yellow sunflowers because they felt youthful and playful, perfect for Hayes. The cemetery was so beautiful that afternoon. So many people were there celebrating their loved ones. One of my favorite sights was seeing kids playing football and laying on the grass next to their loved ones graves. The cemetery was lively and homey. The complete opposite of how I have always pictured cemeteries. It has now become an extension of my home because a piece of me is there. We sat around Hayes’ headstone and looked at the beautiful pictures, a story set in stone while bagpipes played in the distance. It was perfect and peaceful.

After leaving we headed home and ate as a family. We spent the rest of the evening outside, playing basketball, sitting in the yard and being present for each other. This is what I love about life now, these simple times mean the most!  

While Memorial Day had its ups and downs and definite sad times, I feel grateful for these moments that keep me grounded. To finish off the day we received a gift in the mail that just blew my mind. It was a large wooden sign with a beautiful quote. Sometimes perfect strangers know exactly what you need. I am forever grateful that Hayes is cheering me on forever. I absolutely, wholeheartedly believe this!  

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