A Highball for my Hero

On his birthday (today), and then again in April on the day he went back up to heaven, the Gillespie clan raises a glass of Jameson in honor of the patriarch of our family, the legendary Jack Gillespie.

A highball for our hero — the boy from Ireland who came to America and served and sacrificed to live the American Dream. He worked hard every day of his life to provide for his family, for his new country and for the next generation. And he did this proudly, and always from the heart.

It’s been 9 years since he passed, but he very much lives on in the legacy he left behind. We’re a big Irish Catholic family, with a crazy clan of stubborn arses with weak stomachs — but we’re a loving family who embrace the hard work, loyalty, faith, humor, patriotism and high(ball) spirits that my grandfather embodied.

I am truly proud, nearly moved to tears, to be the granddaughter of Jack Gillespie. I look at my dad and my uncles, and I see that spark — that twinkle in their eye at times — and I’m reminded of my Pop-Pop. I see traits in my aunts and my cousins and my siblings, and I hear the familiar quips, phrases, and one-liners. In those moments, and with every new addition to our family, I know that Jack Gillespie lives in all of us — just as all of our grandparents and parents do.

Getting older is a blessing because it’s another day, another month or year that God has given us in this life to live and to continue living it. But this life can be exhausting.

As we all know, life is not easy. At times, I struggle to see beyond the present day. Other times, I struggle because those days turned into years and I feel as though I’ve missed out on something or that I’m behind on something. But getting older is a sign that we still have more to do on this Earth, more to see and experience, and more of an impact to leave on the people we love. And in those times when I struggle, I long for the day where I can look back at a life well lived.

Tonight, I’m enjoying a highball for my hero — and moving forward with the legacy he left behind to live my own life, one that makes my loved ones proud. Slainte!