From September 1st, I was already reminded of what was coming. With this year being the 10th Anniversary of September 11th, the media overload only made me more anxious and uneasy. It wasn't until someone else commented on my demeanor not being like my usual self did I realize how much the upcoming day was actually affecting me. During the week leading up to the anniversary, I relived the weeks after September 11, 2001 over and over and over again. It is not something that I share with most people, but this year I am ready to open up and share that I lost my grandfather on September 11th.
Because my grandfather's influence is a part of who I am today, I now feel it is time to share a bit of the story. My grandfather was a man who stood for quality. From the way he carried himself to the way he treated others, it was evident that he was genuinely a class act.
Although I was not thrilled at the time, I remember the day he gave the assignment of ironing (by his standards) my school shirts for the entire week on Sunday evening.
I vividly remember how hard he laughed as I unwrapped my gag Christmas gift (two empty toilet paper rolls) and how excited I was to discover my real gift of a CD player that I wanted more than anything and not-so-subtly hinted at weeks before.
I remember discovering just how hard it was to clean a fish tank, trim trees, clean a pool and learning to tie a solid knot (all on one Saturday) with him.
Because he was so much fun to me, I now wonder how he managed that on top of everything else he did. I now have an even greater appreciation for the quality of man he was, and it makes him that much more special.
The saddest part for me is the moments I wish I could have experienced with him: my high school graduation, college graduation, getting my driver's license and first car, and eventually getting married. There is something so special about when a grandparent is proud of you, and I so miss that. But that is my motivation to continue to create moments that would make him and my grandmother proud. (My grandmother passed away two days before the 5th anniversary of 9/11.) I continue to remember the moments we had together. He was more than a grandfather. He was like a father and a friend to me. I am so grateful for the moments we shared. Though it has never been the same.
It seems fitting that my mother and I went to the 56th Fighter Group for brunch today. In a World War II setting that has been preserved, it felt as if we were among American history. Seeing the American flag that was adorned with all of the names of those lost on 9/11 reminded us that we are in fact a part of American history.
Photo credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_5bVN3kXOxFc/TIyVHcP1d6I/AAAAAAAACDs/QZorJY-n4Sg/s400/01.jpg