(Grandpa Dow holding Aiden soon after he was born)
I thought of you today as I pinned my poppy into the red felt cloth of my coat. The petals and the cloth bleeding together.
I was standing in line at Tim Horton’s and they had a basket full of poppies, and I donated a quarter. One quarter for the poppy and I felt sad. That 25 cents was all I could give you. So I spent a moment in silence, staring out the window.
And that’s probably all you wanted in 1945–a moment of quiet. A moment in which to enjoy a hot drink and a warm place to rest. But instead you were a young man stationed in Italy, getting skin cancer and watching comrades die so I could be born into this moment and when I pinned my poppy I cringed, afraid it would prick me.
Thank you Grandpa. For not being afraid. For entering into your fears and fighting for me anyways.
I don’t know how I feel about war. All of that killing, and the blood, and the awful loss, and the way anger and sadness and betrayal and bitterness all kind of mottle together and then explode out of the cannons of governments’ soul-less pockets. And brothers and sons and friends and loyal men with families turned into machines.
I don’t know how I feel about war, Grandpa, but I know how I feel about peace.
And I don’t know how I feel about soldiers or armies or guns, but I know how I feel about you. And I love you.
I’m so very proud of you. Of the way you stood up for the hurting in your battalion, of the way you came back to Canada with medals to sweep Grandma off her feet. And you didn’t let the trauma of war kill your soul.
I’m bending over to pick something up and my poppy falls to the floor, and someone walks by and steps on it and I could cry. I pick it up and wipe off the dirt. Re-pin it.
It’s damaged now, but peace is like that too. There’s nothing perfect this side of heaven, but maybe this is what we’re supposed to remember.
That Jesus died by the sword so that we might have peace.
That sometimes peace can’t be bought by anything other than the sword.
I’m standing up now, and walking out of the Tim Horton’s because I’ve got a life to live, thanks to you, Grandpa, and I’m not about to waste it.
Always, your eldest granddaughter,
(*spending the weekend with my parents, who’ve flown in for Aiden’s third birthday party on saturday… will be taking some time to rest and reflect this Remembrance Day weekend. may you know how very loved you are, friends.*)
linking today with the beautiful lisa-jo, whose word is “quiet”