I have to admit that this is the first year this day holds any meaning for me. Not because before I was indifferent to its meaning, or because I didn’t care or wasn’t thankful, but because a Veteran I knew passed away this morning. He was sweet, kind, funny, spunky, witty, stubborn, smart and had so many things to say. He lived to be 92 and I feel it was just yesterday we celebrated his 88th birthday.
I am not very familiar with death, I am one of those blessed happy few who had never lost a close family member or friend, but Papou was special, not in the way all dead people are suddenly great and flawless but in the real way. He lived a remarkable life, saw the world change, his children grow, his grandchildren be born, lost the love of his life and did it all it a flair. I never asked what he saw or what he did, the things he witnessed so many years ago at war will remain forever private but I can’t imagine how he did it all and remained true to his spirit, how he survived the lost of a loved one, war, leaving his home country of Greece and remained the sweet man he was.
I remember having lunch with him two years ago and Dear Husband, who was just my boyfriend then, called me and I didn’t want to answer because I didn’t want to interrupt the lunch we were having and he said: “Answer and tell him you are having lunch with a hot Greek stud” I did and I remember how Papou belly-laughed when Dear Husband screamed “What?” over the speaker phone. He had such a young soul for such a long busy life.
Today has more meaning because is not just a celebration of millions of faceless people all over the world who sacrificed everything for the greater good. Today it has a face, it’s Papou’s and next year, and the other years to come I will raise my glass for those like him but specially for him who sacrificed, gave joy and touched so many, many lives.
I am consoled by the knowledge that you are finally in Yaya’s arms Papou. We’ll miss you.