I was on a roll with posting weekly but took a hiatus from blogging for the past month or so. Earlier this summer, my maternal grandfather and my paternal aunt passed away on the same day. Later, my dear uncle and my father-in-law passed away within 24 hours of each other. One of my best friends also lost her father this summer. There has been so much loss that it’s hard to emotionally process it all. On top of that, the logistics of getting to our families in other states in a rush after a death has caused stress and other worries.
It has been particularly hard to see my loved ones deal with the loss of their closest loved ones. Although I truly loved each of my family members that have recently passed, I know there are others in my family who feel the loss in a much deeper, more painful way. I have been focused on them and their healing, worrying about how they are coping and praying for them to be okay. My grandma with her husband. My dad with his younger brother.
My husband and his sister and mom with their father and husband, respectively.
My father-in-law’s memorial and funeral were held in Georgia about a month ago. I knew him for the past 6 or so years. Although I’m told his personality was different from the rest of his life because of a stroke he suffered a few years prior to our meeting, I know that the core parts were present. He was a real character. He loved people and always wanted to make them laugh. At the same time, he didn’t care what anyone thought and said what was on his mind no matter how many feathers it would ruffle. It was part of his tough exterior, I suppose, but it also portrayed his sense of humor. He would say inappropriate things that were pretty freaking hilarious and that nobody else would have ever said out loud.
Whenever we visited Atlanta, Bobby would get into his old teenage mode and sleep in super late. I’d be up early and drink coffee at the kitchen table with Mr. Wilton. I always enjoyed that quiet time with him, hearing his stories about serving in the military and hearing what my husband was like when he was a little kid. It was always fascinating to hear what life was like for their family back when they lived in Korea on a military base.
I’m not sure Mr. Wilton ever realized how proud his children were of him and what he had accomplished in his life. Coming from humble beginnings and a rough childhood, he had made his way around the world, fallen in love, served his country, ended up with a wonderful wife, and raised two amazing children. He was a hero in the eyes of his family and close friends, even if it wasn’t in the way that he saw war heroes portrayed in his favorite movies.
A few days after the memorial mass for my father-in-law, the family plus some church members and a few good friends drove to the Georgia National Cemetery for the military funeral and burial. I know my husband, his mother, and his sister were filled with not just sadness but a huge amount of pride during the beautiful ceremony. It was somber and powerful. Everyone sobbed when the trumpets played taps and again when the young soldiers made a gun salute. My husband was given a few of the empty shells after. Those will serve as special symbols of his father’s life. It was a goodbye fit for a hero.
Goodbye Mr. Wilton. Thank you for creating the family that will continue your legacy. I’m so glad you were able to meet your grandsons in the last year. Please shine down on us all.