I woke up this morning thinking about you.
My eyes opened and I immediately began the usual involuntary inventory; of what I might do today, the assorted plans I have: what I’m going to eat, the ordinary tasks before me—all the family stuff and bills and dreams and the billion unrelated thoughts already ping-ponging around inside my head while it still rested on the pillow.
And almost in an instant I became fully aware that I was awake and alive.
I realized that I am here in this bed; breathing, feeling, planning, and preparing to rise to step into all of the waiting world.
And that’s when I thought of you.
I thought about this day and about how you’re missing it; about the other ones like it that you’ve missed before that I never considered.
I thought about how many of those days I took for granted or squandered complaining or worrying or missing what and who was right in front of me.
I thought about those who are missing you today too, the loved ones and lovers who must settle for photographs and memories. It reminded me again of the unfathomable blessing of those who share my sacred mundane with me every day.
It seems terribly insignificant, almost insulting to offer an easy thank you for your service and your sacrifice, because honestly it’s all too much for me to even comprehend.
I have never died for anything.
I have never spent everything on behalf of someone or something else.
I am awake and alive here in this morning and you are not, and so I will find in those truths as fitting a reply as I can to you and to your life.
I will live today as a response of gratitude.
I will be fully present in this day and to those who share it with me.
I will remember you; what you are missing and those who are missing you.
I will fight for the best version of this country that I can make.
In some small way as I run and plan and hug and laugh and eat and rest, and do the act of simply living, I will remember that I am here.
I will try to live well, this day that you cannot.
In this way, my very life will be a memorial to yours.
I am grateful that I thought of you today when I woke up.
I know that I will see this day differently now.
I hope that I will live it better.
Thank you for opening my eyes.
Thank you for waking me up.