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What is a Hero?

Today, I want to share with you pieces of a speech that was published this summer after it was presented at the Texas Peace Officers Memorial ceremony. The speech talks about what is a hero? The author had the task of speaking to the audience present to remember and honor loved ones who had died in the line of duty. He said that the term is often used to describe groups of people such as first responders, military, public safety, and private citizens who go above and beyond to serve others. However, he went on to talk about the heroism of living after your loved one dies. That is the part I want to share with you today.

October 31-November 2 is a celebration called Dia de Los Muertos. It is a beautiful time of remembrance, love, family, and tradition. The lives of loved ones are celebrated as family talks about and remembers the life and love shared. Family members invite the dead to visit and enjoy gifts and time with the living. Water (or another favorite drink) to quench thirst after the long journey, candles to light the way, and marigolds adorn the alter or Ofrenda along with pictures of loved ones. I love that this celebration offers a time to openly talk about your loved ones and keep their memory alive! The next couple months are difficult for most people grieving the death of a loved one. The Holidays are a time when people rejoice, gather, and spend time together. For people grieving, it is a constant reminder of who is missing.

The Playful Child Foundation was established in honor of Kade. My sweet boy turned 4 ½ years old in October. I miss him with every beat of my heart! The Holidays just make this hurt more acute. I would like to challenge you to reach out to the people around you who have lost a loved one, especially a child this Holiday season. Give them the best gift possible and ask them to share a memory about their loved one. It is in the sharing that we keep their memory alive. The youngest grievers can often be overlooked. Be sure to make time for them as well.

To close, here is a portion of the speech given this summer,

“ I contend, however, that there is another type of hero…Those who survive to carry on the memory of their loved one. The husband or wife, brother or sister, son or daughter, who lives each day in this new world….returns to (work) after the worst has happened. Those whose lives have been irrevocably changes when their loved one has left this earth.

Having the courage to forge on in the face of such loss; living to remember, never to forget. Rebuilding your life one day at a time, heartbeat after heartbeat, breath after breath, step after step. To me that has the making of something truly great…In grief there is hope. The hope for a better tomorrow with the strength to carry on.”

The Kade Damian Children’s Memorial Park is our hope for a better tomorrow. It is a place to honor, remember, and experience joy and make new memories in the names of those we still love and carry with us every day.

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