What You Leave Behind
What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others. - Pericles
This is the last flag that flew from my grandfather's flagpole. He took great pride in that flagpole and the condition of both the pole and the flag that flew from it. A fact that my father was always aware of as he was the one that fixed it as was needed.
Thanksgiving weekend we had a big wind and rainstorm. It was about 2 months after my grandfather died. Driving by his house as I do almost every day, I often find myself absentmindedly looking in, getting used to the way it is now. The day after the storm his flagpole lay broken on the ground. The flag tangled and torn in the nearby bushes. In many ways it was a small thing. Inconsequential really. But I couldn't just leave it that way. Knowing he would not be pleased to see the flag that way, I parked at the side of the road and walked back. Carefully, I untangled the flag and untied the ropes, trying not to tear the flag any more. Leaving the flagpole and the last of my patience behind, I took the flag home. I just couldn't leave it. Even though my grandfather is not here to care.
This is how people stay with us. A little voice that pipes up from time to time. Even after they are gone. Those voices of all who have influenced us. Often, popping up at the strangest times. My grandfather lived a long, full life. I've made peace with being gone. This Remembrance Day is still going to be a hard one though. It's hard to explain. And I have no idea what I'm going to do with that damn flag.
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