Words are often hard to come by when consoling someone who has lost a loved one. Death, whether by an illness, combat, or by tragedy will touch each of us and how we react is often in the back of our minds. My husband’s father passed away after several months in the hospital and rehab facility following a stroke and one set back after another. As we were waiting for family and friends to arrive, that gnawing knot in a person’s stomach starts and just increases until you start talking with others about your loved one and then emotions ease up and sweet moments can happen. There were several moments on that day as we met to celebrate a beautiful, loving father, grandfather and great – grandfather. Our grandson, Holden, age 4, had just arrived from Abilene, riding in the car to Oklahoma for the service. I greeted him and talked about what we all were doing there that day. He had seen his great-grandpa in the rehab facility around Thanksgiving and knew he had been sick. We went into small room to see grandpa in his casket and he was a veteran, so the bottom half was shut with the flag draped over. Holden looked in and we talked some more about death and then he was ready to do something else, so I took him outside to walk around and talk some more. As we were picking up sticks and talking, he said, “GiGi, where was grandpa’s legs?” I said, “his legs were in there, you just couldn’t see them.” Holden then said, “oh, they were under the Captain America Blanket?” I started crying and said, “yes, you are right.” Then we continued on walking and talking about life and death.
For a few weeks, this kept coming up in my heart and I am truly thankful for those precious words. Not fully realizing at that moment why they touched me so deeply, but last night it came to me. In my life with Keith, a retired Green Beret and doing what we are currently doing with Task Force Dagger Special Operations Foundation and the Special Operations community,it daily brings to mind the word Hero. The service members and their families we come in contact with and assist are true American Heroes and I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.
Yes, grandpa David was a veteran and our hero and served his country well, but each day there is another “Captain America Blanket” that is laid over a casket and a reminder to us all that we should honor, support and seek ways to unite and not divide. Their sacrifices are too great!