Friday, November 4, 2011

Lest We Forget...

Sometimes, blog posts seem to write themselves. Sometimes, in the very middle of a pretty ordinary day, extraordinary moments happen:

The Reds and I bought poppies today. As I was pinning them on, Luke asked what they're for. I told him that it's a way to show soldiers how much we appreciate the hard work they do, keeping people safe.

Matthew: And they fight in wars, right?
Me: Yes, unfortunately, they do.
Luke: I'm gonna fight in a war one day, Mummy. I'm gonna be the first one there!
Me: I sure hope not, Lukey. I don't want anyone to fight in a war, but especially not you.

Matthew: Don't worry, Mummy! If Luke goes, I'll go too and then you won't have to worry.

An elderly woman approached on unsteady feet, leaning heavily on her cane. She peered down at the boys, stroked Luke's cheek, Matthew's hair.

"Sweet boys. Let us pray your mother never sees a day when she must send two fine lads like you to war."

She lifted her gaze to me and offered a sad smile.

"Three of my sons fought in the war," she explained. I nodded, sensing there was more.

"Only one returned to me."

"I'm so sorry," I gasped, hoping it was enough, knowing that it couldn't possibly be.

She gestured to the Reds, now proudly showing one another their poppies, mucking about.

 "Your sons. May God keep them with you always."

"Amen," said a deep, weary voice behind us.

It was a soldier, beret smartly titled on his head, poppy over his uniformed heart.

She touched his arm, the poppy and offered a watery smile and a whisper: "Thank you, son."

The soldier, clearly touched, lifted his chin and smiled back.

"You're welcome."

And you? In whose memory do you wear a poppy?


  1. Wow. This year, I wear a poppy for the sons of that woman...and for that soldier, too.

    Powerful post, Liz.

  2. Me, too, Mama. Me, too. I cannot TELL you what this random convo, in the middle of an otherwise ordinary day, has done to my heart. It weeps. It swells. It is thankful, blessed, LUCKY.

    Free. And so very, very grateful to him, to her, her sons...all of them.

  3. Oh, Liz.

    Seriously? That is too much. The sweet innocence of your boys, wanting to defend something they love. The wise woman who has lost too much. And you stuck there in the middle of all of it. It is so quiet and so loud at once.

    Our Veteran's Day is coming up soon. I think you just helped me make a very important decision. So thank you.

  4. Quiet and loud. Mark and I were just talking about this - how if we weren't witness to this sort of thing fairly regularly, we'd be less likely to believe it happens.

    I sometimes feel that my children are conduits of sorts - life in their sphere is often this way - and that people are inexplicably drawn to them. Drawn to their innate goodness.

    They are, most of the time, normal, messy, loud, sassy little boys. Until moments like this occur and then...well, then, I think they're simply magic.

    I feel kind of awed sometimes, and that my job, aside from raising and loving them, is to record these moments, for what I do not know.

    Perhaps it's why they chose me. I thank God - and them - every day for that.

  5. amazing post, Liz!
    Like Leanne, I will think of your story when I pin on my poppy.

    My daughter had a moment last year in Brownies. We'd taken the girls to sing at a seniors home at Christmas and afterwards have a snack with the seniors. One gentlemen wearing an old aviator jacket took a liking to her. While they were talking, he unpinned an old poppy pin from his lapel and fixed it to her badge sash. He told her he'd worn it in the war, it kept him safe. And it would keep her safe.
    I cried.

    What an amazing moment for you and your boys. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Oh, Elena - of course you cried, I'd have doing so, too! What a lovely gift he gave her: faith, hope, safety...and freedom.

    Wonderful! Thanks so much for sharing your story, too!

  7. Amazing story, Liz. Thank you for sharing.
    I wear my poppy for the grandfather I never knew and my friends who still serve.
    Trish @ Wordbitches

  8. OMGoshness Liz, even my tough little retired soldier heart just weeps at the strength and beauty in your boys. That Matthew knew he should be at his brothers side, regardless what he did or didn't understand about a soldier's life, is EXACTLY what serving is all about. Yes, Soldiers/Sailors/Airpersonnel Serve of course, in the one of the most difficult ways perhaps, but what makes Canada so incredibly great is that we all find a way to Serve one another in our own way. Matthew & Lukey have already learned that from their awesome Momma! ~HUGS

    That women's sons are in my Heart right alongside my friends now! Thank you for such a super awesome post!!

  9. Gah! Beautiful post - weeping over my dish cleaning...

  10. I'm so touched, Reba - thank you for your lovely comment. Tell Doc we didn't mean to bring him to tears, although the Reds often have that effect on me. Presently though, they're playing video games and bickering like mad - moments like the ones above are the ones that stop me from bashing their heads together! LOL!

    Much love and thanks to you and yours, for all that you are, do and bring to the planet. xo

    Lori, what an image - weeping into the suds! Funny, it's where I often have a moment to pause and reflect, too! Thanks for reading!

  11. My father-in-law served in Korea, and my nephew has been a soldier for two years now. A church friend also served in WW II and Korea. Knowing some who have served and continue to serve sure makes Remembrance Day powerful.

  12. ^^^ That is does, my friend. So glad you have live, loved people to honour every year. Thanks for popping by and the RT!

  13. Wow Liz. That's wild! So powerful. And touching!

    Thank you.

  14. What a miracle of sorts that you witnessed, and how your boys drew these people near! Amazing! Everyone in that conversation was touched, powerfully, in one way or another... and it's very admirable of you to document it and pass it on to others.... thank you!

    I will remember my father-in-law, who served in WWII, and my grandfather, who served in WWI, along with all those who have and are currently volunteering for our country.

  15. Read it again this morning and once again I'm in tears. Just wow.

  16. Pam - thank you, my friend, as always, for reading and allowing yourself to be touched, like I was/am.

    Carol - it was moment I will never forget. So simple and yet, FILLED with grace. I have found that most of these moments are often brought to me via my children. somehow.

    I hope they never forget. I know I won't.

    Thank you so much for stopping by...and thanks to your loved ones, who served and continue to serve. They are the best of who we are, as a country, as a people.

    Alison - your heart is deep and wide. Wishing you peace as you remember your Poppa tomorrow and for each day after.


    1. Not sure how I missed this last year. Better late than never, I'd say. How touching and moving. Wow. I am in tears.
      Along with all the soldiers, young and old, I wear my poppy for my late Cousin, Trooper Darryl Caswell. In fact, he is the reason that I know you at all Liz, so even after his death he has brought good to people's lives. xo

    2. Sweet mama, Darryl is the first person I think of, followed by this woman and her lost sons. I love that we were brought together by Darryl's memory, even as my darling son nuzzled, newly-born, next to my heart.

      Thank you for reading and sharing your tears with me, then and now. Love, love, love.

  17. I did a post on Remeberance Day and kids's sooo important that we teach them what they have in Canada. Your boys are soooo amazing.

  18. Poignant. I remember when my boys were born I thought that our world had progressed beyond me having to ever send them off to war. Then 9/11 happened. Now, it's all so uncertain.