This article, entitled "A True American Hero," comes from Kathy Bedford, MomsEveryday blogger from Northwest Florida.
My children’s grandfather died a true Marine on Memorial Day this year. Born on the 4th of July, he went to be with his Maker on Memorial Day 2013, having lived a life filled with happy memories and the blessings of 4 children, 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren, all who loved him dearly.
Oftentimes as parents we struggle with how to handle death of beloved family members with our children. Should we shield them from their illness? Let them go to the funeral services? Be with the sick and dying until their last breath?
I asked several of my nieces and nephews this question about Grandpa. They ranged in ages from 5 to 30. The resounding answer from every one of them was, “Yes.”
Marvin had a way of loving you unconditionally and accepting you for who you are; never passing judgment and always offering a helping hand and kind word. Because he loved so wholeheartedly, when it came time to care for him everyone wanted to help. Truth be told, Grandma would tell you the reason Grandpa was with us so long after his cancer diagnosis was because he wanted to live to see his great grandkids grow up. Happy were the days when his grandkids and great grandkids came to visit – which was often. They would crawl up on his hospital bed (situated in the living room so he could be part of what was going on each day) and sing songs to him or watch their favorite video together.
I will never forget the funeral service when a family friend began with the song Amazing Grace. Grandma started sobbing and the two youngest grandchildren sat on each of her knees, hugging her and wiping away her tears. I sat behind her and had the heart warming view of seeing not only this poignant moment, but also taking in the mother’s heart blessing of watching the large group of nieces and nephews standing together in unison, honoring Grandpa Bedford. Standing tall in the midst of the group were our own two sons - all 6 feet 2 inches of them - stoically standing side by side. My heart reminisced of the times their Grandpa drove them on the tractor when they were young, toasted marshmallows with them, told them stories of the war, and taught them how to tie their shoelaces.
Marvin Bedford was a true hero and role model for the importance of fostering strong family ties. I am proud to be part of the Bedford legacy and thankful our sons had such a humble role model in their lives. Marvin wasn’t about expensive gifts; he was a hard working man who worked with his hands. His gift was time spent listening to your stories and sharing some of his own. What he did for one grandchild he did for all. What a legacy. What tradition he passed on to his family.
My hope for you as we sojourn this parenting role together, dear readers, is that you too take the time to make precious memories and long standing traditions with your children. May they look back years from now and be able to share similar blessings about times you spent with them when they were young, during their teenage years and on into adulthood when they had children of their own and the traditions continued. For it’s these memories which keep us strong and thankful for the time spent together long after each has passed.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and enjoy creating lasting memories today.