The unapologetic, raw, unedited interpretation of living life. Each of us is the artist of our own life, constantly remolding, reworking, and roughing out the details and applying what we've learned to the changing canvas. There are no do-overs, no take backs...just rough cuts that release what lies inside us.

I saw the angel in stone and I carved until I set him free. - Michelangelo

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Tribute to a Soldier: A battle for life, a life lived in love

I know Memorial Day is about our veterans.  I will be the first to stand to attention during our National Anthem and place my hand over my heart in honor of all those who have fought for our freedom.  But I cannot on this day of Remembrance not pay tribute to a Military spouse, wife, and the strongest woman I have ever known... my mother. 

There comes a time in every person's life when they realize they are a grown up, that life has a deeper meaning than the here and now, the daily grind, or living for himself.  That day came in my life on May 10, 2003.  I was at a bridal shower for a friend and my husband had just deployed to an undisclosed location 3 days earlier.  I got a call from my father that my mother had just taken by Medevac to Pittsburgh...she had a tumor the size of a grapefruit in her frontal lobe.  My heart froze, my knees were weak, I couldn't talk.  The events over the next few days would change all of our lives forever.  That day I became a grown up and could scarcely imagine what God was about to do in our family. 

Over the next 20 months, I watched a woman I admired fight the battle of cancer as hard as a soldier in the heat of war.  The woman who as a young teenager had trained polo ponies, then raised 3 children as a Marine Corps Officer's wife, changed the lives of all that knew her, whether at our church, school, or right at home with family and friends.  She understood that a life is about living.  That the important things in life were those people and things that she poured every ounce of her love into everyday. The weekend before God set her free from her inner war, I watched my father kiss her on her forehead and saw her look into his eyes.  At that moment, I understood love that could only come from years of relying on one another for strength, celebrating joyous moments like watching their children taking their first steps,  and promising to love one another no matter what.  In that moment, I looked at my own daughter, just 4 months resting in her seat and knew that I had a life to live and people to pour love into without holding back. 

At 3:00 AM on March 29, 2005, the battlefield fell silent.  The strong and weary soldier knelt before a graceful and mighty God and laid down her sword.  He took her in His arms and welcomed her home. 

May we all live with such passion for life, with hearts bigger than ourselves, and in generosity for one another.  For her eulogy, I wrote about her love of lighthouses and the extent to which a lighthouse represented her life:  She stood with strength and had the ability to touch even the darkest places with the light of her love and compassion.  Her beauty outside was just a glimmer of the beauty that came from within her.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful words Cara. I will never forget that day when you received the call. I think it really made all of us realize that life is too short and you never know what can happen in the blink of an eye. She was certainly a strong and very brave woman... and you certainly follow in her footsteps.