Monday, June 28, 2010

Lance's Legacy

My grandfather passed away in 1998.  During the last moments of his funeral, at the graveside, a hawk swooped down over us, a fitting image for Grandpa, who was an avid outdoorsman.  Ever since then, when I see a hawk gliding gently on the currents above me, I like to think that maybe it's him up there, floating and watching over me. 

I am not sure that I really knew my grandpa all that well; my impressions of him are limited to what little girls notice about their grandpas, like the way his eyes twinkled when he laughed and how his cap was always just a bit cock-eyed on his head.  I do know, from my own memories and from listening to my family speak of him, that he was a feisty one.  He spoke up when he had a strong opinion and was never afraid to pound his fist if he had a point to make.  If he felt like someone was trying to push him around, he just pushed back.  These qualities may be even more vivid to me because I see them in my own dad.  When I see a hawk swooping in the wind, I can feel the strong-willed integrity that connects me to my father and to my grandfather, and it makes me proud to be part of that family tree.

Life has held some challenges for me lately.  I reached out to my family to help pull me through, to help me with the right decision that was oh, so very difficult to make.  I held on especially tightly to my father's strong will and his belief in what is right.  I didn't have faith in myself to be strong enough to do it on my own.

And now that I am on the other side, now that I am breathing a bit easier and seeing a bit clearer, something occurs to me.  It's like a fist that was clenching my chest has suddenly loosened.  In weak moments, I thought I was only strong enough to make a change if someone helped me.  I now see that I was only able to reach out for help because I am strong, strong and proud and feisty, like Grandpa.  I am surviving, and I am fighting for the happiness I deserve partly because of the legacy that my grandpa gave to my dad and my dad gave to me.  Hey, you know what?  If someone pushes me, I will push back, too.  Lance was a feisty one, and so am I.

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