We are veterans. Many holidays were missed, celebrated early, or celebrated late. Sometimes I would celebrate something without my husband and I’d send photographs of the event to him over email or cell phone. Sometimes he would do the same. We both served in the United States Navy and missing holidays were a given.

However, Fourth of July, unless we were deployed or on detachment, was an exception. This was a holiday we almost always celebrated with a four-day weekend.

I remember that every Independence Day, we’d invite someone over or be invited to someone’s place. We’d fire up the grill and he’d man the pit. He loved grilling lamb, steaks, and burgers.

He’d sit and drink a beer with his buddies. We’d watch the kids play together.

Those days are now long gone and I miss them. I miss the smells of meat grilling mixed with the taste of popsicles or cold beer. I miss his conversation mingling with the laughter of his sons. I miss his smile and relaxed posture sitting next to me. I miss his contentment in the summer heat.

Suicide robbed us of all of this. It didn’t take the memories, but it murdered the prospect of happier days on the horizon. It robbed my children of new memories, memories that will never be, will never happen. Instead, they get to reminisce about the few short years they had with their father. More often, they get to listen to second-hand accounts from me, because they were only gifted a few short years and were much too small to remember much of their father.

I wish I had thought to record every one of these events.

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