Today is the third anniversary of the death of my beloved Granddad. He passed away at home after a two year battle with lung cancer. Throughout it all, he remained an example of excellence. I only hope I can die with the grace and dignity that he possessed. I miss him more and more every day. I wish so much I could just call him and ask for advice when I am confused; I would give anything to hear his voice. This post is in honor of him and of my other (thankfully still living) hero- Grandpa.
They taught me that family is the most important thing… There was a time in my life when some people walked away. They didn’t like some of my decisions and chose to remove themselves from the situation. This division was really difficult for my grandparents (and myself) to deal with but they kept encouraging all in the situation to remember that the family ties are truly what binds us together. Now that time has past and more water has flowed under the bridge of life, the rift between has diminished. Wounds do heal over time. Forgiveness is the key.
They taught me about unconditional love… I have a deep faith within my heart that these two wonderful people believe that I can and will be a success. That they are proud of my accomplishments and that I have live my life thus far in a way that represents them well. I have a picture on my locker at work of my Granddad; I look at it when I am feeling unsure of myself. It gives me the courage to keep me going when times are tough.
They taught me important life lessons- the importance of hard work, commitment, good money sense… Both grandfathers worked many years and retired from their careers. Grandpa retired from the Navy as a Master Sargent. Granddad retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratories after 30 years as an electrician. After their retirement, each has lived a life full of more work and commitment to their community. Grandpa bought and ran a 100 acre farm, where three generations of our family continue to work. Granddad was an active member of Habitat for Humanity and a 20+ year member of Lion’s Club; he traveled all over the country (and a couple of places internationally). Both have been able live comfortably and with health insurance. When I think I will never make it to retirement, I can look at their commitment and see the importance of providing for yourself into the future.
They taught me that personal growth never stops… Both of my grandfather’s have read more books in their lifetime than some libraries hold. Their homes are places where curiosity about the world is encouraged. Grandpa would always answer a question with “Look it up!” pointing to the now out of date set of Encyclopedia Britannica. As a kid, I once had a hair brained idea of reading my way through the series. I didn’t even make it half way into volume A. Granddad took classes at the local community college. Some of his favorite topics were economics and religion. He said he didn’t want his mind to go to mush. He encouraged me to keep exploring the world through books, giving me his National Geographics to read. Granddad and Grandpa taught me that knowledge is the key to both personal and professional success.
They taught me that a good marriage is struggle, sacrifice, and loving the other person despite their flaws… Both sets of grandparents have been married for 50+ years. Not every one of those years were a bed of roses. I have watched them disagree without shouting, kiss each other good night every night. Even though he was well over 70, Granddad would still smack my grandmother on the butt and call her sweetheart. They watch out for each other in a way so fine tuned it could have only come from years of devotion. I have heard them encourage their children to stick with marriage even when it’s difficult. They are a united front, a rock and foundation for their family.