The tombstone read “JOLLY.” The snow glistened around the headstone, almost idealizing it. The sun beat down on us, but it could not warm our hearts. A soft breeze rolled by, causing many to huddle closer together. The air felt thin; a moment of dread has arrived and has taken residence in the hearts of those who stood around.
Shivering in my boots, I stood as tall as I could. Somehow this day felt like the coldest day in February regardless of the snow. It seemed like no matter how many layers were wore, I could not get comfortable. As a tear streamed down my cheek I refused to wipe it off, refused to even move. Moving seemed inappropriate as if I would be disturbing his funeral, so I stood ridged.
Glancing around, I noticed all the others who were rubbing their eyes and sniffing. The amount of people who came was unreal; this one man touched many people’s lives in his long one. I lost track of count after thirty, what a great sight given the circumstance. A beautiful day to celebrate a wonderful man. The eyes of those who stood around were lined with red; noses were runny and hearts were sore.
I scooted closer to my dad as he put his arm around me, warming and comforting me. As the priest stopped talking, a tear rolled down my cheek. My dad, a strong man every other day, was shattered. His eyes shined blue, but sparkled with tears. While one arm was around me, the other brushed against his face. His shirt became tear stained, surprising not only him, but everyone else. My dad is not one to show when he is upset. The vulnerability he shared was unique, very unlike him. I looked up and stared at his face, wondering how quickly his wall was broken down. As I looked at him he turned his head and gave me a sad smile. When I returned the smile more tears escaped, who knew one person can have so many tears.
The priest stopped talking, but there was no silence. The Marines gently grabbed the flag and began folding. With each crease and turn over, my heart sank a little further. Once the flag was transformed into a triangle it was handed over to my grandparents. More tears spilled out. A beat later the Marines played their song, a calling for my great grandpa. The notes played a depressed tune to which many others wept, but I never stopped crying.
Taps continued to fill the air creating a soothing moment for those who grieve. As the melody played, I retold the memories of my great grandpa and me. All the times he would grab my hand and call me ‘pretty girl’; when he would make sure there were cookies in the house just for me; watching me cheer at basketball game and telling me I’m going to go far in life. These memories are the ones I will forever cherish. Knowing he will always be there to make sure I am doing alright is what will get me going through all the hard times I will face. All those times would never be forgotten, but they would never be repeated. That thought popped into my mind and I felt all the air leave my lungs. There would never be another basketball game that he would watch me cheer at; he would not be there for Christmas anymore; simple holidays would forever change after this.
Taps ended with a heartbreaking moment; the spell was broken and all I felt was numbness. The flowers were picked and placed around his urn, a beautiful symbol of what his life was. The priest spoke a few more words, allowing condolences. Silence filled the air as people filed out; those who stayed stared in space, unable to comprehend what just happened. I stared at the urn, unable to grasp what just happened. I felt a deep sensation pass through me, as if it was a sign from my great grandpa saying not to worry I am always here with you.
My dad rubbed my shoulder, squeezed, then proceed to hug his parents. The loss of his grandpa has taken a toll on everyone, especially him. The memories that were planted by him will always remain with us, just as he will. A simple man who had influenced many people was now gone forever, but would never be forgotten.