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!