Wednesday Wisdom: Life Lessons from a Veteran | Seersucker Sass

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wednesday Wisdom: Life Lessons from a Veteran

Today's post is something a little different - it's not about fashion or beauty reviews.  Today's post is a tribute to my favorite veteran and the lessons that I learned from him.



My Grandpa spent the majority of his adult life in the military, serving in both Korea and Vietnam, and eventually deciding the Army was his career calling.  I feel so blessed to have grown up listening to stories about his best friend Sarge, white haired gorillas he encountered overseas, and other war stories of the sort.  My Grandpa had a knack for telling stories, and even though he repeated them sometimes, he would draw you in so much that you still needed to hear the ending.  My grandpa loved God, his country, his wife, and his family.  He was a great American, and I'm so fortunate for the time we were able to spend together.  Here are five lessons that I learned from my Grandfather:

Stay calm under pressure.  My grandfather was an EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Specialist; his job was to take apart bombs, defuse explosives, and things of that nature.  There have been so many times in my life where I've been freaking out (like when I had to have tests run on my lymph nodes or even this morning when I had to give a presentation on social media to our board, elected officials, and the media) and reminded myself - My grandfather took apart bombs.  I think I can handle this.  It's great for putting something minor in perspective or channeling the energy I need to get myself through something major.

Find a passion.  Visiting my grandpa was always such a treat because his home and garden were beautiful.  He was passionate about working in his garden, preparing delicious Southern meals, and creating things with wood.  His eyes absolutely lit up when he was in his garden, and he always enjoyed telling me about things in his home that he had made.  I've never liked tomatoes, but I always delighted in taking a bag of his homegrown tomatoes home to my mom.

Fight like hell.  My grandfather had multiple cancer battles throughout his life.  The summer before my junior year of college, I got the call that he had been hospitalized.  They thought his cancer was back, and he didn't really want to go through chemo and radiation again.  The day that my grandfather passed, I spent the morning with him, then went to work and he went to his doctor's appointment, where he scheduled his chemo and radiation.  My grandfather wasn't going to leave this world without a fight, and I admire that so much about him.

The good should always outweigh the bad.  I never spent much time alone with my Grandpa until the last year of his life.  When I went to visit him in the hospital, it was just me - my grandmother Katherine was taking care of her mother, my dad hadn't made it into town yet, and my mom stayed in the car with my brother. My grandpa was so candid with me and told me things about his life that I never knew.  The comment that really stuck with me was that he knew he had done a lot of "bad" things in his life, and that we're human and we all do, but that he had also done a lot of good things in his life, more good than bad, and that we should always focus on the good things and strive to be good people.

At the end of your life, you want weathered hands.  My grandfather was holding my hand at the hospital, and I made a comment about how bony my hands were due to my infusions.  (I prefer getting IVs in my hands because getting them in my arm freaks me out.)  He assured me that at the end of your life, you want your hands to be weathered.  It's okay if they're bony, rough, or not pretty in the least bit, because that means you've experienced life, you've worked hard, and you've gotten your hands dirty.  When you think about what you've done to get where you are, weathered hands don't seem so bad.

Thank y'all for taking the time to read my tribute to my grandpa.  Do you have a special veteran in your life?  Don't forget to thank a veteran for their service today!




25 comments:

  1. What a beautiful and thoughtful post. Thanks for sharing, and he sounds like a wonderful man!

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  2. I truly enjoyed this post.
    Your grandpa sounds like he was such a wonderful inspiration to everyone he met.
    My grandpa was also a veteran and I loved hearing his war stories as well.

    xoxo, Jenny || Breakfast at Lillys

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  3. Your grandpa sounds very amazing! Great listens he taught you.

    Mikayla | A Seersucker State of Mind.

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  4. I'm glad that you were able to appreciate the time you had with him and the wisdom he was able to share with you! Another lesson I've learned over the years: Keep smiling :)

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  5. This is great! So glad you got to have that time with him!
    www.kayleighskloset.com

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  6. I don't know why I'm so emotional today but I cried with this, especially with the last one because it reminded me of my grandfather and his hands and how hard he worked throughout his life. I absolutely love this post!
    xo
    Lauren
    www.thefashionistasdiary.com

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  7. This is such a beautiful post and tribute to your grandfather. Your Grandpa seems like such a beautiful soul, I really love the lesson about weathered hands. Experiencing life (the good and the bad) is sort of the point isn't it? (:

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  8. What a touching blog post! Your grandpa sounds like an incredible man- and how selfless that he spent so much time serving our country!! <3 You're so lucky you had such a great relationship!!

    My dad's dad was also a veteran, but he passed away before I was born, so I never had the chance to hear any of his stories. I still love knowing that my grandfather was a veteran though!

    xoxo A
    www.southernbelleintraining.com

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  9. Such a beautiful and meaningful post. Those are some pretty incredible lessons to learn and ones I'm sure you'll carry with you always thanks to your grandpa. Thanks so much for sharing them with us! xx Merisa | Monogrammed Magnolias

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  10. A great, meaningful post for such an important day! Thank you so much for sharing about your Grandpa...he sounds like a truly wonderful man!

    xo Ashley

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  11. Oh man - he diffused bombs? That's an amazing way to put things into perspective. He sounds like such a great role model for you and it seems like he lived such a full life.

    Alessandra | blog.pumpup.com

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  12. What a wonderful and touching post. It makes me want to hug my grandpa! My grandpa has some of the same views on life. Always be positive and look at the bright side!

    Nicole // Chronicling Home

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  13. I love this post. Thanks for the inspiration :)

    Cat
    http://classmeetscouture.com

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  14. Such beautiful lessons from a wonderful person!

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  15. I love your outlook on anxiety ridden situations--my grandfather took apart bombs, I totally have this!

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  16. Your grandfather sounds awesome! I love hearing the stories that our veterans have. The old pastor for my church was a navigator for a carrier ship during WWII, so I love hearing his amazing stores. He also has some great college year stories, as he was quite the prankster.

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  17. That is amazing that you have learned such powerful lessons from the service of your grandpa. That's what life and family are all about right there!

    -Morgan
    How 2 Wear It [] http://how2wearit.com

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  18. Wow this is moving!! I love this change of scene. It's always so nice to hear advice from people that have experience more of life. So refreshing.

    xo,
    Sara Kate Styling

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  19. What a wonderful man, and a powerful story! I always loved hearing about my grandparents' life lessons and stories. It's amazing what you learn throughout the years.

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  20. Wow this is an amazing post! Your grandpa sure did teach you a lot of great things. I love the story about weathered hands. As much as we try to avoid our imperfections, sometimes it's things like that which show we truly lived.

    xx. Brittany | Southern Soul

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  21. Your grandfather seems so wonderful and it's clear you learned so much from him. What a beautiful piece!

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  22. Love how you poured your heart in to this post! Your grandfather sounds like a great guy!

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  23. The weathered hands lesson made me tear up for some reason. Your Grandpa sounds so sweet and kind and so full of wisdom. And I love the "my grandpa took apart bombs - I can handle this" -- hearing other peoples stories really helps to put your stressful moments into perspective.

    http://thealwaysblog.com

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  24. So crazy how we both wrote posts for our grandfathers on the same day. I really enjoyed reading this, thank you for sharing <3

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

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  25. Amazing post! I have other family members who have served and they have all taught me similar lessons! Very grateful for them and their service!

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