Friday, November 4

Did you know? | My grandfather...my hero

Did you know...


My grandfather is/was my hero...
grandpa & i

A couple of weeks ago...
I felt inspired to start sharing little things about me that you might not know.
Things that will ultimately connect us in ways that might not otherwise be possible.
I've decided to call these my "Did you know?" posts.

They will be random little things about me...
my life...
my experiences...
my family...
my beliefs...
insights into my life I feel will help open the doors
and shed light on the path that has made me the person I am today.

Also, with the first few days of November behind us...
I felt inspired to share some feelings/things about gratitude throughout the month...
because ultimately being genuinely grateful for what we have...
is the magic key for unlocking the door to the happiness in life we are all seeking.

So today's "Did you know" post happens to combine BOTH of those desires:
My desire for sharing a little something about myself...
and sharing with you someone I'm eternally grateful for...

my grandfather....Charles J. Richardson, Jr.
Grandpa Richardson NAVY

My grandfather was my only male role model growing up since I never really knew my dad.
(My parents were divorced when I was two years old. My dad never played an active role in my life. 
I vaguely remembered him while growing up and honestly, I finally had the opportunity to meet him about 10 years ago).

My grandfather was handsome, funny, devoted, kind, loving, generous, creative, imaginative and intelligent...
grandpa navy


He loved life...
He loved his family...
He loved his country...
He loved his friends...
grandpa gunner team with wording


And he loved and adored the love of his life...my grandmother, Dorothy Louisette
Grandpa and Grandma Reunion 001-4


I've decided to share a segment of the Family Reunion Slideshow I put together over the summer.
This particular part of the slideshow is one of the most emotional parts since it's a tribute to my grandfather...

I must tell you...
The images are mostly gripping emotional photos...from his grave side burial.
Yes...
I know that sounds a little strange.
Who takes photos at a funeral?
I'd never really thought about doing that before...
but I felt inspired to do-so because my grandfather
was honored with a military gun salute for his 20+ years of service in the Navy
and his 6 months spent as a P.O.W. in Ofuna, Japan during World War II.
It was important to me to capture those images.

I am SO grateful I stepped out of my comfort zone...
and put aside the hesitation/skepticism I had about photographing something so personal.
I can't tell you how much I treasure the images because they truly capture the emotion of the day.
Priceless images of family and friends that have experienced a deep sense of loss without him here now...
People who will forever be touched by my grandfather's example.
He truly was an incredible man...
A person I hold in the highest regard.

I feel so incredibly lucky.
Lucky to have known him...
to have shared part of his life with him.

I'm also proud of him.
Proud of the person he was...
the profound character he had...
the incredible ability to find humor even in the midst of sorrow, heartache and trials...
the amazing legacy he left behind...
and especially proud to call him my grandfather.

So...
turn your music off if you have it playing...
turn your volume up if it's down...
There's music you'll want to hear as you watch the slideshow...

Without further adieu...

My grandfather...my hero


And now you know... 

KEEPiNG iT REAL
After taking a few photos myself...
I of course was overcome with emotion.
I ended up handing the camera off to Tina...my brother's girlfriend at the time, who has since become his wife.
I'm grateful she managed to capture most of the moving images in the video...
The one of my brother and I in a tear-filled, heartfelt embrace...wow.
So many emotions.

7 comments:

Anna November 4, 2011 at 10:27 PM  

Thank you for sharing this... Your tribute to your grandfather is both touching and clearly filled with love. I couldn't help but think about my grandfather while watching the video. I still miss him and wish I could've said goodbye. Again, thank you for posting this and showing the entire world how much you love your grandfather.

jess @ pen n' paperflowers November 5, 2011 at 8:40 AM  

Thank you so much for commenting Anna...I'm so glad you could really feel how much I love him. I'm also feeling your pain for not being able to say goodbye to your own grandfather. Keeping his memory alive by sharing with others the things you loved about him and continuing traditions he did or little things like, I believe somehow closes the gap just a tiny bit between the "should haves", "missed opportunities" and any "regrets" we might have. Hugs to you!! Thank you again.

Nancy November 5, 2011 at 4:06 PM  

That was beautiful. My Dad passed away this past March and I took pictures at his funeral...everyone thought I was nuts. But I'm really glad I did:) Take care!

Anonymous,  November 7, 2011 at 1:03 PM  

This was so beautiful. I bawled through the whole thing. You are so lucky to have had such an amazing grandfather. He was very handsome in his younger days and so very cute in his later. Thank you for sharing this intimate part of your life and thank you for showing us your powerful family love and amazing patriarch. *sniffle*

Lisa B

jess @ pen n' paperflowers November 8, 2011 at 6:33 AM  

Nancy...I'm so sorry to hear about your dad passing away in March. I know how difficult that must've been. With the holidays approaching I know there will be tough moments ahead. I'm so glad to know you were inspired to take photos too. I believe photographs document our life...and there's nothing more REAL than the passing of someone we love dearly. Thanks so much for commenting. My thoughts and prayers are with you...

jess @ pen n' paperflowers November 8, 2011 at 6:36 AM  

Anonymous (Lisa B)...

Your words mean so much. Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment...and for appreciating a very intimate part of my life. And it just tickles me to hear you say he was handsome in his early years and so cute in his later. I just adored his soft, silvery-white grey hair.

Anonymous,  January 4, 2013 at 10:58 AM  

I'm speechless...absolutely beautiful beautiful beautiful. What a treasure. He would be so proud & honored. What a handsome man, and a beautiful family and legacy. Amazing how much you look like him. CLD

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