I’d like to think that I am brave…that in terms of bravery I’ve succeeded…

but when I look back on my life I wonder…how much bravery have I needed?


I’m a 67 year old white male…this is a good place to begin

as no one has ever hated me because of the color of my skin.


I’ve never been afraid to walk alone…I’ve never felt I wasn’t free

I’ve never had the chance to be brave in the face of bigotry.


I have never been abused, embarrassed or made to feel shame…

I’ve never had another person call me a derogatory name.


I’ve never had to be brave when someone attacked the God in whom I believe.

No one has ever questioned my religion…how I pray, or dress…or grieve.


I am heterosexual…It’s the way I was diagrammed…

I’ve never had to bravely say to the world…accept me for who I am.


I was a teacher…now retired…having spent a career in academics…

but I’ve never had to summon the bravery it takes…to teach in a pandemic.


I’ve never had the bravery to tell my family we could not pay our rent…

to look them in their eyes and say…our money’s all been spent.


I was not a nurse, a doctor , a policeman, a fireman or a soldier

I was never in the fray

I never had to show the bravery…these people exhibit every day.


I’ve had an easy and a wonderful life…I’ve enjoyed the ride upon this wave

and I am thankful because of who I am…I’ve never needed to be brave…


And I am grateful to all of you who have been…all you heroes I’ve seen made…

by doing what you know is right even when you've been afraid…


I shall always admire who you are…all of you

how your bravery inspires…how it stirs…

and I only hope that someday…

I can add my bravery to yours.

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She received a lot of advice after her Grandpa died

It seemed to come in waves…

They said Grandpa was in a better place…They told her to be brave.


Be brave for your grandpa they said…he wouldn’t want you to be sad…

Be brave for your bothers and sisters…be brave for your mom and dad


She remembers being somewhat confused from all the advice they gave

She was just a young girl…What did she know about brave?


She ran to her Dad and asked, “Dad! What’s the correct way to behave?

When we go to Grandpa’s funeral…What do they mean…be brave?”


"People mean well when they say be brave.” Dad said, 

“But you are kind and loving and smart,

I think the best advice on how to be brave is to listen to your heart.”


“What is your heart telling you?” he asked.

Then she looked up at her dad

“My heart is saying it’s broken…It’s telling me I’m sad.”


“It’s telling me I miss him …It wants to know why he died.”

“It’s telling me it hurts…It’s telling me to cry”.


Dad nodded saying…”Grandpa made us smile so many time over the years.

We never think how one day those smiles will be the reason for our tears.”


“Don’t give a second thought to what people say or think today,” he said,

“or any time you say goodbye”.

“Be brave enough to be yourself…Be brave enough to cry”.


She related this conversation word for word to her daughter

about what it means to be brave

while happy memories made them cry


As they stood at Grandpa’s grave.

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