Thursday, August 18, 2011

Remembering a Hero. Our Hero. And the Foundation of Our Family.

On Saturday August 6 my family held a memorial service for my grandpa.

He passed away on November 5, 2007 at the age of 87. My grandmother followed him just a few short months later on April 17, 2008 just 2 months shy of her 90th birthday. They had been married for 65 years, raised 4 children, had 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

My grandpa fought in World War II. He was a Major in the US Army. He served throughout Europe while his wife was at home with their youngest child. He was shot in the war and spent a full year in a hospital recovering. For his service to our country he received two purple hearts.

With his death and funeral falling so close to Veteran's day there were not enough people to give him his full military honors that he deserved. For that reason, we had a memorial service to remember the two people who meant so much to us.

They are both truly missed in our family and everyone was eager to be there to honor them.

The service was a full military honors service for my grandpa, but it was also a time to remember my grandma, who was the foundation of our family.

When my grandpa was choosing their burial plot years ago, he specifically chose a spot under a large tree. He always said that he chose that one so that when people came to visit them they would be comfortable in the shade. When we arrived at the cemetery that Saturday it was raining. When the service was about to start the family gathered under the tree to get out of the rain, just as he would have wanted. And then, as if he were watching over us, the rain stopped. It stopped just until everyone was in their car after the service, then it poured. But, we all knew he was there with us.

We buried them 4 years ago, but there is something so devastatingly final about the shots being fired and taps being play. It was like a wound that had been healing for almost 4 years had been freshly opened again. I have missed my grandpa every single day, but this day I felt like the hole in my heart was being ripped open.
My amazing husband was a part of the ceremony and he read the meaning of folding the flag as they folded it. He loved my grandpa and my grandpa loved him like he was his own grandson. He was so proud of him for being a Marine. I know he was honored to have him be part of it all.

After the military portion of the service was finished, we had a family service. The ivy wreath was empty and each person came up and told a story about my grand parents. As each person finished their story they put a flower in the wreath. It was such a wonderful way to remember them. Even a few of the great grand kids that are old enough to remember them stood in front of us and spoke. People spoke of how they know they are with us every day, funny stories or something they will never forget.

The memory wreath looked really nice when we were done. Before we left the cemetery My mom and aunt filled a small vase with flowers, one for each person who couldn't be there. They now have 16 great grand children and the 17th is on the way, so they left a flower for each person so that they knew we were all thinking about them. 

My grandpa was one of the best people in my life. I saw him all the time. He always had an excuse to see me and to spend time together. When I was in high school my grandma went in to a nursing home. I went and visited with her 3 days a week and I would drive out to his house 2-3 times a week just to chat with him. I would call to tell him I was on my way and he would put a beer and a soda in the freezer. When I got there we would sit and chat over drinks. I loved spending time with him. When I moved away he bought a cell phone so he could call me and I wouldn't get charged for it. We had a weekly phone date.

I am certain that he is the reason I am pregnant. He always said we would be good parents. My due date is December 21, which I feel is his doing. He loved Christmas and in my crazy mind I feel like he is showing me that he loves our baby to be and that hes got our back.

I miss him.

I miss them both.

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