Tuesday, December 2nd, our family was hit with another hard loss. Within 6 hours of being exactly a year apart with my Dad, my father in law passed away.
Chuck and Diane, with all their children: Danny, Tony, Chris and Sarah
Lying in bed this morning found me with my heart full and my eyes open, with my fingers needing to write.
How do you say THANK YOU, to a family who made the journey from Hungary to America, risking it all in a time that was treacherous, to find a better life?
He was 11 years old when his family fled their country. I had known this since I had entered this family, but at the funeral home, listening to Chucks sister tell part of the story, the hair on my neck stood up and I REALLY finally understood. She talked about being a little girl, 8 years old, and her mother telling her they were going to for a walk and that she needed to put on 2 layers of clothes. And of them stopping at her grandmothers house, and her wrapping up food for them. Her mother crying, and her grandmother saying "You act like I'll never see you again." They couldn't tell anyone they were leaving. And she never did see her mother again. It took them a year before they made it to Kentucky, where Chuck would later meet Danny's mother. This story has been on Tristen's heart, and in the hunting section of Wal-mart, I felt him also grasp the full story. "If anything had been different, I wouldn't be here, would I?"
And because of Chuck's family, and their journey, my husband is first generation born American.
How do you say THANK YOU to a man who fought in Vietnam, not meeting his daughter until she was 7 months old. A man who wasn't born in America, but He KNEW what it was to be an American. He was one of the most patriotic people I have ever met, and his knowledge of world history was just absolutely crazy.
How do you say THANK YOU for raising the man you would marry? The man who would help me bring my babies into the world?
How do you say THANK YOU to a man who adored your children? (Well, not just mine. He adored ALL 13 of his grandchildren!) He taught them about food, and about chess, about saving money and being thrifty, about stamps and coins.. He taught them to be yourself.
How do you say THANK YOU to a man whose most important thing in life was his family. He was happiest with kids running around playing, and adults with bellies full, sitting around socializing.
How do you say THANK YOU for the life he lived? For the example of determination, and grit, and hard work.
How do you say thank you? I have no idea.
Thank you, Chuck Bruckner.