Memory Day

Dear J-

Look, all I’m saying is that if I’m flying two THOUSAND miles for holiday, I expect it to be sunny and warm.

— overheard in the crowd at the San Diego Zoo, roughly 10am

This Memorial Day we decided to get off to the Zoo, maybe not so early (it opens at 9), but early enough to avoid the big crushing crowds on major holidays, summer weekends, and sunny afternoons. May is, as so often around here, capricious: cold in the mornings, warming up to you and finally letting you know what Southern California’s all about. We ended up leaving around noon — not so hot that toting figgy in a backpack up some of the Zoo’s canyons (simple route this visit: around the Children’s Zoo, down Bear Canyon, and back up Cat Canyon and taking a twirl around Elephant Mesa) wasn’t more than invigorating, not enervating.

Two years ago Memorial Day fell on the first weekend after the miscarriage; we spent that particular holiday at Point Loma, Cabrillo National Monument after having passed numerous well-dressed mourners observing the holiday going through Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. We had our own somber agenda to pursue, hoping that we could take our minds off of it and seeming to run into every single pregnant woman or newborn baby in the greater San Diego region instead. We found ourselves alone in the crowd, marked out by what seemed like a silent, morose brand amidst all the joy and sun. And I reminded theVet that this wasn’t forever and indeed, less than a year later, there was figgy to greet us with thunderous voice (I distinctly remember that she pretty much cried for the first hour of life or so: outrage, indignation, and how-do-you-have-the-gall).

We forget how easily we forget. We pack it away inside somewhere and manage to stumble over the right words for the occasion when it falls out of the mental closet and scatters pieces everywhere; put them back in the correct sequence, now, and tidy it up by precariously shutting that overstuffed door. But worst of all, we forget what really matters and read malice into action, deliberation into accident, and prefer reaction to patience. I need constant reminding of how we felt that long day in May 2006, knowing that things would be all right and still not believing it; saying the right things and not listening to them; the desperation and regret of hearing there was nothing we could have done differently and feeling placated. We stand stronger together. And the sun eventually wins.



2 Responses to “Memory Day”

  1. Junior Says:

    Spouse and I sometimes find it difficult. We would like to have children, but that hasn’t been the path chosen for us – so far, anyway. Then we read stories like this one and have to wonder about any notion of justice in the world.

    Be strong together and enjoy every minute you have with one another; there are no guarantees in life.

  2. dearJ Says:

    They have what they call a mood elevator chart at work: either you feel victimised or empowered, depending on how you choose to view events. I believe the first part of adulthood is realizing that you’re ultimately responsible for how you feel, which is a lesson that frequently escapes me.

    I’m finding that stories about children affect me more now; Louis Sachar’s There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom reduced me to a red-eyed mess last weekend.

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