(The seventh month).
I have a three day weekend coming up after today (keep your fingers crossed for me that I can blow this popsicle stand asap). The reason for this three day weekend is because the company I work for is closed on government holidays. In other words, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Memorial, and Independence Day. There may be more that we're closed, but I can't think of any at the moment.
And every single Independence Day, I'm thankful for having the freedom that is provided to me. Gratitude can not even begin to express my love and appreciation of this country. And I thank each and every single man and woman that has made that possible for me.
When I was a kid growing up, Independence Day always meant grilled food, water, fun, fireworks, popsicles, and a million little things that made memories. Some of my favorite being when Momma took Bubba and I out on the evening before to buy fireworks one year and a giant thunderstorm came through and rocked our entire house. I know that sounds like a crazy "fun" memory to have, but I assume you would have had to be there to understand the humor in it. And, the summer my cousin Shantel and I spent in Florida with our Grammy and Aunt..... and a couple boys. Please, we were like thirteen or fourteen and it was the first time that a boy held my hand while watching fireworks. ON THE BEACH. It was practically a Mandy Moore movie up in there.
But, about seven years ago, all of that changed. I no longer think of all the great memories first. The first thought I always have, is Amy. And sure, it has become a little easier as the years have passed, but it hasn't been the same since 2009. That year and for the first couple after that, I didn't even want to go out of the house, let alone "celebrate" anything. I've come to realize that she wouldn't want me to do that, and on some level it might even be silly, but like I said, it's a little easier now. Sure, I would prefer her to be here with us, raising her little boy, and laughing from dusk until dawn, but unfortunately, that's not a option for any of us. No matter how much we wish it was.
So, I have decided to try and do Independence Day like Amy would want me, and all of the people whose lives she touched, to do. I am going to remember her and continue to love my dear friend that is no longer with us, but I'm going to do it with a smile on my face and continue on. I'm sure that she will forever be my first thought every single year when Independence Day (the day she passed) or April 19th (her birthday) approaches, but I'm going to remember her the way she lived, not the way she passed. I'll never forget that day, lord knows I have tried, and I can feel her shaking her head at me. She would want all of us to celebrate her life and to be happy instead of sad on days like these. She was an amazing person like that. I'm going to try, I truly am. And to that I say, I love you Amy Dean, I always will. You're a lovely friend and a carefree spirit that could inspire. I'll be sure to light a sparkler or two for you.
"Laugh your heart out, dance in the rain, cherish the memories, ignore the pain, love and learn, forgive and forget, because remember, you only have one life to live."