This weekend is Memorial Day and Americans are pausing to celebrate freedom and thank those who sacrificed to protect it.
Many will also make pilgrimages to cemeteries and shed a few tears for those who have passed from this life. Love is unique with its power to make us so happy and so sad.
In GriggsDakota lilacs draw my memory to homesteaders who brought me here. I am especially mindful of the sacrifice of the pioneering women. It seems to me that the sacrifices made by men are better documented and more often dramatically portrayed than those of women in America.
Unsung heros, these women lived and worked alongside of their fathers, brothers, husbands, and sons.
I am enjoying lilac blossoms today that were planted by pioneer women and their families. A pioneer woman lived a life of self-sacrifice. Her goal was a better life for her children and grandchildren.
She lived with purpose and faith.
Like this woman, who planted lilacs, bore ten children, and died a week after giving birth for the final time.
In this house where the lilacs still bloom.
Like thousands of others, she sacrificed her life.
Her daughter, my grandmother who told me the story only once, watched her mother die as the older girls went out to the field to fetch their father. There was nothing to be done, except to bury her, which they did after having her dressed in her wedding gown.
They put their sorrow in their pocket and went on. Ten children and a father in a household held together with gritty determination. The older girls were assigned to the youngest ones. My grandmother became a ten year old mother to a not quite three year old boy.
I try to imagine their lives in this house with lilacs and love and chaos. There was no extra money and endless work to be done. All the children were held accountable for their work and responsible for one another. My life has been so blessed by their sacrifices that I cannot clearly see.
They made it work. The children became farmers, teachers, an engineer, a carpenter, the Superintendent of a Class A school in GreaterDakota. They were husband and wives, mothers and fathers. Their father is the proud man in the middle with eight of the ten children. My grandmother is on the lower left.
Their father taught them that their most valuable inheritance was
My life is what they hoped for. It took sacrifice from thousands. Remember.
Celebrate Memorial Day. Happy Summer!