Independence Day has a lot of meaning for me. My mother died on July 2, 1984 and her funeral was on July 4 - so that day is always a day of rememberance. As a family, we celebrated 4th of July together, often going to the beach to watch fireworks, and usually in the company of close friends. My dad would go to one of the unincorporated cities nearby where he could buy fireworks -- sparklers and poppers -- and we would set them off in the street in front of our house. As a girl with a lot of compunction, I was a bit timid as I did not want to become a poster child of the dangers of fireworks! Nevertheless, I would gamely hold my little sparkler as far in front of my body as far as I could, drawing gilttering, spark and smoke circles in the air for others to decipher before the smoke dissipated. To our delight, my dad was brave and set off the fancier fireworks in the street. All of us, including my mother, would watch from the curb, clapping our hands as the fireworks shot colorful stars into the air that fell toward the ground like broken fairies, until they disappeared into the night.
As my mother had been seriously ill for a long time, I often thought of her passing as a day of independence -- she was finally freed from her pain and suffering. After her funeral, I took all of her medications and burned them in the bar b que. I even wrote a song about it. . .although I am not sure what happened to that song. I cannot believe that this year is 25 years. She has been gone now for more than half of my life.