Cherry Blossoms and Green Grass


Grief is so unpredictable. It seems like the moment you feel some sort of “normal,” something enters your life like a leaf in the wind but has an impact of a tsunami. Today is one of those days. The last years with my stepfather Sid and my mother Diane were the most difficult. Helping two people who meant so much to me live out their final years was hard. It was stressful. It was mind-numbing.

And yet, I would do it all again.

The Last Lenexa Midnight Bike Ride Together

Three years doesn’t come close to the life that they provided for me. The culture, the discipline, and the values they instilled in me were a significant impact on who I have become and how I live my life. Three years seems like a trivial repayment of a lifetime of love, compassion, and togetherness. I have had my parents here with me after their cremation, waiting for the day when they could be put to rest in their final resting place – Arlington National Cemetery. The backlog of fallen veterans and the impact of the pandemic meant that most families of the fallen heroes had to wait to say their final goodbyes.

My family is one such family.

finally made it to their final resting place

Today – my stepfather and my mother are finally at peace within the confines of a cemetery that holds our greatest protectors. From the unknown soldiers to our greatest military leaders – each stone that is similar and unremarkable – paints a canvas of a loss of such significance and unimaginable pain for a nation.

unimaginable pain for a nation

I could not be there today. Between lingering COVID symptoms and the doctor’s temporary travel restrictions – I was prevented from attending.

the procession

The grief I feel today is ever-consuming, and to not be there to hold my family and to share this day with them – my tears are heavy and unending. Seeing this picture unleashed a wave of grief I had not yet felt or allowed myself to feel. It is a feeling of loneliness, one of finality, and one of resentment.

My parent’s death put a wedge between my family – pushing some away and pulling others closer. I don’t understand why or how that happens, but it is not uncommon. I have become closer with my stepbrothers over the past 18 months, and their strength and compassion have been a great source of enrichment and love. What I have lost, they have helped to fill, and I am grateful for their support.

From right to left: Julie, Diane, and Brian

My parents were remarkable human beings. They left more behind than they took from this world. They were not just heroes to a nation; they were my heroes. A Colonel and a City Council Member – they dedicated their lives to serving others.

lenexa city council member diane linver

You may not know who they are, and you may not have personally felt their impact – but the ripples they created with their love, tenacity, and grit – those can be felt in the lives of many. Both of you were leaders in your community, fighters for a better world, and amazing parents and grandparents.

Retired Col. Sidney l. linver, decorated veteran

Today I say goodbye to Col. Sidney L. Linver and Paula Diane Linver. May you rest in peace under the cherry blossoms, the green grass, and the gentle spring rains at Arlington National Cemetery. I will be forever grateful for the gifts of your love and support. You were so very loved.