“You know your grandfather is dead, right?”
That’s how she told me that my grandfather, the one who hung the moon in my world, had died. It was March 7, 1988. I was eight years old. A ball of flames had swallowed my grandfather up when his P51 Mustang “Dolly” crashed in the mountains.
“I know.” I said, but I didn’t really know. I knew he had been missing and my grandmother had been crying, but he was fine. He wasn’t in a thousand pieces on some mountain where he stayed undiscovered for days.
Yes, he was.
So I went to eat at my friends house. They talked and passed around food and I squashed my tears so I could be good company.
My grandfather was dead. My grandfather, the WWII crew chief of a B-25 Mitchell bomber based in New Guinea, flying raids against the Japanese, was dead. He survived WWII but couldn’t survive a trip to an air show.
I sobbed loudly into my pillow that night.
My mourning was all my own, and it had to be done in quiet. Every part of me ached; I loved him so much.
But today I’m saying, “God, I miss him.” And I’m letting my tears fall and I’m wishing I could have known him as an adult.
Memorial day is when we remember those who have died in our nations service. My grandfather didn’t die on the battlefield, but he was among those who did. And today, I’m thinking about my eight year old self and how my heart pulsed with pain when I found out he died. I’m thinking about all the eight year olds and seven year olds and little ones who have lost their mommy or daddy in a war, and I’m thinking about their hearts and their pain and I wish I could make it all better. But of course, I can’t.
Today, let’s remember those who bled on the battlefield.
And let’s remember those who are left holding the pain.
Father, I pray for those who have lost a loved one to a war. I pray that you would give them arms to cry in, and the freedom to feel their emotions. I pray that you would comfort them, and soothe their spirits with peace. I pray for the little ones who have lost their parents to a war, I pray that you give them great pride in their parents courage and honor. I pray that you keep their little hearts tucked in tightly with yours, and I pray you would surround them with loving arms. Father, today we groan for heaven, for the day when pain will cease and only tearless eyes will be present. Hold our hearts today. In the name of Jesus, amen.
By Sarah Mae