On Remembrance Day, I am always in awe of the stories of unbelievable courage. I’m not sure I can even honestly imagine the strength it takes. To sign up to defend your country knowing you could give your life to do it.
This picture is from my grandparent’s wedding. Like so many others, my grandmother had left Tipperary Ireland to find work in London. She was a young woman just starting her adult years. Even today, this seems like such a fantastic show of courage. To be on your own in another country, find a way to make a living, and be genuinely isolated from your family and friends.
At the same time, my grandfather had left his home in Canada to serve his country proudly. Alongside many others, they travelled to faraway lands, facing the unknown and terrors of war.
They met in London and fell in love. There are so many stories of war brides. To be open to love during all the trials of war always reminds me how love truly can and does show up. We need to be open to it finding the good in everything.
After the war, they moved to Blairmore, Alberta, Canada, where my grandfather was from. Together they began raising a family and making a living. Once again, my grandmother was leaving her friends and family behind. She only had the chance to see them two more times because of the travel costs. All she had was the mail to stay connected. I can’t even imagine not seeing my family or being able to pick up the phone.
This is my other grandfather. He was so eager to protect our country he lied about his age to go to war. What incredible determination and courage for someone so young. At 17, I was not thinking about what was happening around the globe and certainly not thinking about growing up faster—the things he would have faced and seen at such a young age.
He met my grandmother after the war. It was a tough time, both in our economy and his life. He was often away at work or travelling, leaving my grandmother alone to raise and care for their children. She faced many hardships and challenging times, but she always found a way.
She was determined to figure it out and relied on her family, asking for help when needed. No matter what, she would make sure her family had what they needed. She had such spunk, amazing courage, spirit, and grit.
So, how do I find courage?
I think about my grandparents; I take great solace in knowing I come from love, strength and determination. This provides me with the inspiration I need to take the next step. Even when I don’t see how it will turn out, I know I am not alone.