Why I Don’t Celebrate July 4th
When I was a kid, July 4th was so much fun. We always celebrated my grandmother’s birthday that was that actual day with a strawberry and blueberry flag cake. She always wanted fruit on her cake so it was perfect. It’s not what I would have chosen for a birthday cake but she seemed to enjoy it. I think she was used to sharing her birthday with the entire country.
My parents didn’t make a huge deal but we always had a cookout and cake and then we’d walk down to the lake to see the fireworks. I loved how they drove barges into the middle of the lake to set off these amazing fireworks. I lived in a very small town growing up so I didn’t know it at the time but they were amazing to me.
I loved growing up in that small town. Especially in the summer when I was able to bike around the lake myself when I was a teenager. After dinner my dad would bring my brother and me to the lake with our dog and have a swim and then stop for ice cream.
My dad was the kind of guy that would stop at the grocery store and help an old person and he would talk to strangers and make friends everywhere he went. He was a jolly guy and didn’t know how to listen to music quietly.
It was always a party at my house growing up because he didn’t know how to do anything small. Go big was his way of life and his personality was the same.
Four years ago my dad passed away on my grandma’s birthday. It was hard enough when we lost my mom to a glioblastoma brain tumor 9 months before, but then he died and my whole world crashed down around me.
Now I don’t celebrate July 4th.
I remember the day before he died he was lying in his hospital room and there was an enormous rainbow that came through the sky and seemed to reach his hospital room. We had already been informed by the doctor that my dad was not willing to fight anymore. He was in so much pain emotionally and physically we had to allow him this choice.
That night we brought him home, his last night in his own bed, where he thrashed around not really understanding what was happening, he had a moment of clarity where he looked up to the ceiling and asked, “But how do I get up there?”
We knew he was trying to let go all night and was very antsy and uncomfortable. I think that morning when he passed was the single worst moment in my life. I had lost both of my parents, my guides and my cheerleaders. I had lost the people I called when I was losing it because the baby wouldn’t stop crying or the hot water heater burst open.
I lost my personal history and the people that shaped me into who I am today. I wasn’t sure how to be in this world without them. How would I raise my babies without them?
I know they are with me. Without a doubt they are with me and they are part of me. But when I see people around celebrating this day the 4th of July. I just want to get in bed and cry. Because it just reminds me of the worst day of my life.