I guess I really shouldn't say 'lost.' We know where they are. We aren't guaranteed how long we will enjoy our life on Earth, but one thing is for certain and that's our life on Earth will end.
My husband's mother passed away suddenly only 3 months after our wedding. In the past 5 years she hasn't met two grandsons and two granddaughters...and a pending grandchild...DON'T WORRY, IT ISN'T US...its the other twin! Nate and I made a trip to Arlington during Thanksgiving after his mother's passing. We haven't been back since. We had good intentions of visiting the site again, but short trips to DC to visit my grandmother, weather and two lil kids make it hard. However, this spring I made it a point.
Arlington is always a somber place. You see sites of men who served our country and lived a full life. Then you see birth dates that are the same year I was born...that hits close to home. What hits even closer to home is seeing birth dates of young men and women who served who are younger than my 'little' brother. Now that's sobering.
Walking between the rows of neatly placed white granite, I tried to steady my breathing to keep the tears from washing over. Why hide it? I really don't know. I had my son's hand in mine. He's skipping happily along and pointing out all the stones placed lovingly on the headstones. My parents are bringing up the rear with the fresh cut daffodils, jug of water and flower pot. He doesn't know where we are. He doesn't know why we stop at a particular spot. But he's happy to help arrange the flowers! My little girl fell asleep in the car on the ride over the cemetery. I really contemplated waking her up and making sure to document our day with both kids with their grandmother. Silly? Well, I let her sleep...there will be another time.
Next we made the short trip over to my grandfather's site. Granddaddy went on to be with the Lord March 1, 2012. He was given an extra 6 years of a full life thanks to doctors and prayer. I really base it on prayer since the doctors kept telling him he shouldn't be alive. The Lord wasn't ready for him yet. He gave him the strength to fight the melanoma that attacked his body. He commissioned his oldest grandson as an officer in the Marine Corps (forgive me if there's a more 'proper' way to say this), attended two weddings for grandchildren and met 3 great-grandchildren. All the while still holding his bride's hand and calling her sweetie-pie....even up to his last moments of life. We know he was watching over us during his grandson's wedding over Easter weekend. There will be more times we will reminded he isn't with us, but we will also remember the good times when he was with us.
During our brief stay at his site, we relived and empathized with a near by family. Another family was burying a loved one with full military honors. Nothing is more honoring than having 6 six jet-black horses leading a wagon with the American Flag of someone who risked their life for our safety.
*stones on the headstones are of Jewish tradition. Read more about it here.