A Private Moment
I’m currently sitting in a hotel room outside Washington D.C., wondering why I’m wide awake even though my body is screaming for sleep.
Is it because my brother snores and that hurts my pounding head? Is it because I’m still on KC time and it’s not really my bedtime yet? Or is it because my gram is puttering about the room in the dark? Maybe it’s the fact that she pointed out my grandfather’s ashes are sitting beside the TV (which I think is why she can’t settle either…) I was dealing okay until she said that.
Tomorrow (today? whatever…Thursday), after he passed away six months ago, we’ll lay my Gramps in his final resting place…Arlington National Cemetery, with full military honors.
After graduating from the naval academy in 1951 (marrying Gram the very next day!) He served proudly in the U.S. Navy until his retirement in 1974, the year I was born. Then he taught naval science in the NJROTC at an Ohio high school for another 15 years. Still not quite the “retiring” type he continued to teach and help others, most notably helping adults obtain their GED. In all that time, he also helped raise or was an integral part of the lives of his two children, 5 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. He remained married to and faithful to his beautiful wife until his dying day, over 62 years. The man definitely earned his place in Arlington and all the honors they can provide him and all the respect we can all give him.
As I write this, I wonder if I’ll ever earn the respect of others the way he did. If I’ll ever do enough with my life, if I’ll help others enough, to be honored even a percentage of what he’s earned. I can only hope that the values he helped instill in me have put me on the right path.
Rest easy, sailor. The ship is safe. Fair winds and following seas, sir.
I miss you, Gramps.
XO – T.