My grandmother and grandfather were married on April 26, 1941.
My grandfather was drafted one month later. They did not see each other again for 4 and a half years.
During that time, both my grandfather's mother and father died.
Here is a copy of a letter to my grandfather (Joe) from his sister (Ann) shortly after his mother died (his father would die a few months later).
In the spirit of Roses, as heartbreaking as it is to read, I am so grateful this was never thrown out.
Jan. 22, 1944
We all feel so relieved after hearing from you at last. I know how shocked you must have been, we still cannot believe it ourselves.
Everyone is feeling fine in our family in spite of the great epidemic of the "flu" and pneumonia. A few weeks ago at least one in every family we knew of was laid up in bed.
As for the financial situation, I don't think it is necessary for you to give any more. Jean did a great deal for us and also gave Pop twenty-five dollars. We gave Mom a beautiful blanket to which she also contributed. The expenses were enormous so we are all doing our part. Last week, we bought the monument for her grave. It will be set up around Memorial Day the agent said. This Sunday, that is tomorrow, we are having a mass for her at 10:15.
Last Sunday, Gerry and Pat, Pop's nephews, came over for dinner - tomorrow they are coming again. They long for home-cooked meals as they eat in restaurants every night in the week. We want them to come because they're company for Pop. We're home every night, as it is too soon for us to go out. Pop used to go to the club every night before Mom's death but he has no interest in it now. I guess he'll regain it gradually as time goes by.
Will close now Joe, don't worry about us. Everything is all right. Pop wants to write a few words on the next page so I'll end here.
Your loving sister,
(Next page is in Italian. Despite four years of high school Italian, I will not attempt to translate it here.)
I am also grateful to the servicemen and women of the past and present who miss out on so much, sacrificing time with their families and experiencing heartbreak, homesickness and much more in the name of service. THANK YOU.