Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Filling In For Grandpa

Happy Veteran's Day. A little background. For years (we think about 30 or so?) my grandpa has helped with the Veteran's Day Service at the Veterans Home in Florence. My family has always gone to it, though I could never take time off work to go. :( This year I decided I needed to take time off to be with my family and go to the service.

A few weeks ago my Aunt Laura called me and told me that she had contacted the Veteran's Home and asked if someone from the family could step in for my grandpa and that she wanted to ask me to do it. I thought about it and decided to do it.

So my task was this: To write and give the invocation, help read names of the veterans who had passed in the last year, and also write and give the benediction. I was nervous but hoped my grandpa would help guide me.

I had kind of formed a few things in my head, but hadn't really written it and decided the perfect place to do that would be my grandpa's desk (where I am sitting now actually). I got it written, spent some time with my family and had a nice little break from life.
Working at Grandpa's desk
I got up and got ready this morning and with each minute that got closer to the service, the more nervous I got. So many people have said nothing but wonderful things about my grandpa, but also that I had some big shoes to fill and that added to my nerves. 

We got the Veteran's Home, I got everything in order and sat down. Music was playing. In fact the first song that was playing when we got there was "My Way" by Frank Sinatra. Thanks for the sign Grandpa. 

As I sat in my chair I started thinking. I kept seeing his name in the program and praying that he would be with me and my eyes started to well up with tears. I told myself to be strong but my emotions would have none of that and the tears began to fall. I managed to stop crying by the time the service started, but my voice was still shaky during my Invocation. 

I also got to go up there and read the names of those who had passed within the last year and got to say my grandpa's name. 
There was a balloon release that my grandma, mom and aunts participated in. Grandpa's balloon got caught and wouldn't fly away at first. He still doesn't want to go. 

Right before my benediction, the director announced to the group who I was, who my grandpa was and a little bit about our relationship. 

As scary as it was and as much as I would have given anything to have him be there to take his role, I feel honored and blessed to have been able to take his place. 

To my favorite Veteran, I miss you and love you and thank you for setting such an amazing example to our family. Each day I will strive to live up to your legacy. 

I love my family


Thank you to all who made this possible, who supported and encouraged me. I'm sure this will be helpful in my healing. 

To better days
~Jessica 

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