The Fourth of July is our nation’s birthday and a true reason to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy. No matter what our personal political beliefs, I hope we are all grateful to be living in the United States of America. I know I am.
The fourth of July has poignant significance to the characters in Despicable Lies. The patriotic holiday was the last the girls, Darcy and Danielle, would ever spend with their father. He died peacefully that evening after watching the New York City fireworks from his patio.
“Fred would not be able to eat any of the food. (that his family had prepared) He could barely swallow without choking. Martin planned to roll the hospital bed out onto the patio and place it in front of the TV so Fred could be with his family and enjoy the fireworks. It was Fred’s first holiday with his family in decades, and everyone knew it would be his last.”
I’m afraid that sometimes we take celebrating holidays for granted. We get caught up in the traditional food and drinks, the decorations and gifts. We forget the real meaning of the occasion and we never expect that something unpredictable might happen that could make it our last one together. Darcy and Danielle knew their father was terminally ill, and that he probably only had a few hours to live, but having the knowledge didn’t make his passing any easier. Consequently, the Fourth of July will always hold bitter sweet memories for them.
I feel sad for anyone who loses a friend or loved on a holiday. I know from experience how painful that is because my own daughter died on Memorial Day. Now every Memorial Day when I watch the television coverage of the President laying a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery, it brings tears to my eyes. I miss my daughter profoundly then and especially when the bugler plays “Taps”. For most people, Memorial Day signals the beginning of summer and is happily celebrated by picnics and barbecues and trips to a beach. To others it a time to remember lost lives and sacrifices. The same holiday has different significances to so many.
When there’s been a death on a holiday, those suffering the loss can never celebrate that day in quite the same way again. There will always be a bitter sweet component, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate. On the contrary, it’s a time for us to smile through our tears, to rejoice in the family and friends we do still have around us and to remember the ones we’ve lost with love.
Darcy and Danielle always looked forward to the Fourth of July with its delicious barbecues, parades and firework displays. But when Fred Coulter died on that holiday, the girl’s eager anticipation for the celebrations changed forever and the nation’s birthday became a poignant reminder of their last precious moments with their father.
“The spectacular finale began with thunderous explosions of color filling the night sky. Strains of “The William Tell Overture” came from the TV. The final display of the evening depicted the American flag waving in the night sky, as the colors dissolved and scattered to the ground. Fred Coulter took his last breath.”
No matter how you choose spend this or any other holiday, remember the lessons of the Fourth of July and be grateful for our founding fathers, our Constitution and the freedoms this great country provides. Happy Birthday America. May you continue to be the greatest country in the world and may we never take you for granted.
Until my next inspiration…ciao