in the spirit of love (i'm not quite done with valentine's day yet), here is my grandfather on his wedding day, so young and happy and unquestionably head-over-heels in love. he reminds me of jeff in these photos, the way he looks at his new wife. the four of us are the same yet different, separated by generations. we probably would have been friends had jeff and i been married in the '40s.
as i stare at these pictures, i wonder if my grandchildren will ever look at my wedding photos and think the same things about us that i'm thinking about my grandfather now: young, happy, in love, and resembling just a speck of the man i know today.
my grandfather and his wife, liz, had four children before liz got sick. she passed away when my mom was just eight years old, before my mom really got a chance to know her or learn the important things that young girls learn from their mothers (how to wear lipstick, how to get over a heartbreak).
shortly after her passing, my grandfather found martha, my grandma. she loved us so much. i remember our camping trips and outings to the children's museum and chats about her neat collection of swarovski crystals (animal-shaped and always on display) like they were yesterday. she died suddenly when i was in third grade. i still think about her almost every day.
after martha, my grandfather lost another wife. i can't understand it. why do some people get dealt heartbreak after heartbreak while others breeze through life without any? some people get to grow old with their high school sweethearts, and others lose three wives. three loves of their life. it's not fair. it has been a true test of my grandfather's unwavering strength and character, and it's helped me remember to fully appreciate everyone i love—because anyone could be gone at any second.
today my grandpa is happy. after everything he's been through, i've come to realize that he—behind his military personality and stern façade—loves love. and that's a beautiful thing.