Yesterday I received a large envelope from the Veterens Administration. This was inside:
Yes, a full fifteen months after my father's death, the VA gets around to sending me what is obviously a ritualized acknowledgement of his service in the military. Despite the predictable government ineptitude that this represents, I must admit that I had a lump in my throat as I held it in my hand. It felt like some kind of otherworldly communication. To see my Dad's name on parchment with a gold embossed eagle at the top signed by the reproduced signature of the President of the United States...was moving. It was as if I was holding in my hand proof that the world knew who my Dad was, someone besides his family acknowledging that he was a fine and decent man, a man who did his duty. I think I will have it framed and give it to my sister Linda. It needs to hang on a wall somewhere, and Linda deserves the honor.
It's funny, I can go days without thinking of Mom and Dad, and then out of nowhere, something like this happens and suddenly they are all I think about. It's no longer sadness, but rather a sense that we all have been reduced, lessened, diminished by their absence. Something powerful has been lost, but thankfully, not forever.