Friday, November 11, 2011

Grandpa was a Vet

My grandfather was a WWII vet who was there at D Day.  He just passed away this summer, so it's kind of a sad day today.

The thing about Grandpa was that he loved and cared about every single child that walked through our doors.  I have the most wonderful pictures of him spending time with them.

Grandpa was fortunate.  He never saw combat duty.  He enlisted in the Air Force and became a mechanic.  On D Day, he fueled many, many planes as they left the base and returned many times.  He loved serving his country and had many stories to tell.  He escaped the PTSD that many soldiers, adoptees and their families experience.  For that, I am very thankful.

My most vivid memory of his and Grandma's help came on a day about 12 years ago.  We had recently adopted from foster care.  Our Abbey was and still is a very difficult young adult/child, ravaged by RAD, PTSD - all the standard trauma acronyms.  Most of the time I could leave the children with a trusted young adult.  We had left to purchase some supplies for repairing our home.  Abbey was always breaking doors.  That was her specialty.

We were gone about an hour, and as we rounded the corner to return home, we saw Grandpa's car in the driveway.  Fear gripped us.  We did not carry a cell phone in those long ago days.  Pulled in to discover that Abbey had gone on a rampage, damaging the house and threatening the siblings.  The mere presence of Grandpa and Grandma calmed her.  Fear was very, very intense in this child.

The issue: she became afraid of a door that had not been installed.  I'm sure that horrible things happened behind closed doors to Abbey.  She has not ever talked in any detail about the horrible things.  Abbey also hid in closets as a young child to escape the abusers.  She has vivid and clear memories as far back as two years old.  Her life was filled with trauma.

Grandpa was spared PTSD.  Even staying with our children, he never developed PTSD as some in our household have.

One of the last times we spent with Grandpa was in the nursing home with Abbey's newborn son.  Grandpa's mind had mostly left him, but his tender smile remained as he gazed at the beautiful baby.  Grandpa loved his new little grandson we know and despite all of the negatives, he always loved Abbey too.

Thank you Grandpa for your life of service.

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