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Off the Record

Remembering the good times

At what point do you get over the grief and loss of a loved one and begin to move on?

I've never been "good" at dealing with death. Each Memorial Day was a huge event in my family, as we all piled in the car, headed out to the cemetery and visited our loved ones who've passed on.

When my grandfather died, I cried a little. But I didn't really know how to feel. It wasn't indifference, I just didn't know how much I was "supposed" to cry, or if I was supposed to be happy that he wasn't suffering anymore, or angry that he was gone.

I just didn't know.

But now that he's gone, I carry him with me by remembering his crazy stories of working on the railroad, his short-fused temper and quirky sense of humor. A few years ago I visited extended family that I don't get to see very often. One of my uncles said, "Man you look just like your grandpa."

I wasn't sure how to take that. He, after all, is a 'he', and I'm a she. But after the gender confusion was settled, I realized that I kind of do look like him. I'm also a clone of his personality, with my own crazy stories that people may, or may not, want to hear and how I speak my thoughts freely, even if sometimes, they may not be appropriate.

As a small but honoring tribute, my father named his newest son after my grandfather. That, to me, is another small way we can keep his memory alive.

This Memorial Day, I'd like to remember all those who've passed: veterans and loved ones. But to the veterans, I'd like to give a huge public 'thank you' to those who fought to maintain the freedoms we share in this great nation.

Remember, stay safe this Memorial Day, and don't forget to thank a veteran this weekend.

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