|8/24/1923 - 7/4/2012|
When I posted that I was going to MIA, I read comments from you all hoping that I was doing something fun. I was not. Early Wednesday morning (yes, July 4th), my Grandpa passed away. He was a huge part of my life, so I took the rest of the week off to be with family and help with whatever needed to be done.
I have to admit that I wrote the hardest piece of writing that I've had to write in my life so far: his eulogy. Instead of talking about him, I just thought I'd share it here.
The brown shag carpeting made the perfect blanket for the four of us to lie on our stomachs while sitting far too close to the TV. It was Sunday afternoon at Grandpa’s house, where our dads, aunts, and uncle would spend time in the kitchen with Grandpa talking about grown up stuff, like sports, and we would spend hours watching Nickelodeon. Every Sunday, without fail, Grandpa would make what we now call buttery rigatoni: pasta with not one, but two sticks of melted butter. He also made a separate bowl of rigatoni with meat sauce, because we each preferred something different. It wasn’t until after we ate our pasta that we’d be allowed a helping, or two, from Grandpa’s stash of fruit roll ups or fruit by the foots; sweet treats that were always stocked in the house because he remembered our favorites.
That was something we could always count on, Grandpa remembering what each of us liked, specifically when it came to candy, cookies, or anything in between. We know that our sweet teeth came from him.
It’s hard to easily capture a man we looked up to who was just 88 years young, but based on the many photos that decorated his refrigerator and walls family was his number one priority.
A man of few words, but a big heart, his patience was unfailing with his grandchildren, and he never yelled as we desperately tried to pet the stray cats that only came into the house for him. We will always remember how quietly he spoke on the phone, his clever sense of humor, the money sorters, mechanical pencils, animal figurines, and overflowing bags of goodies that we received at every family event. We’ll always remember seeing him in the audience and stands at sports games, dance recitals, or cheerleading competitions. We’ll always remember his love of Dean Martin and listening to “That’s Amore.” We’ll especially remember how fondly he spoke of Grandma Lily, his unfailing devotion to his family, and his reliability.
Yet there’s one moment that stands out in my mind. It was the second to last time I saw him, just the two of us, sitting by the window in the hospital. We talked about tomato plants that are now growing in the garden, about cooking, specifically Italian food, and about family. We laughed and chatted, something I’ll always treasure, but it was something that he said that will be forever imprinted in my mind.
“I’m proud of my family,” he said while staring out the window. “You know, some have made mistakes, but I’m really proud of this family.” Not one to make a strong statement like that, I knew that it came straight from the heart.
Grandpa, you will be missed, but we’ll do our best to continue to make you proud.
I apologize for my absence from this social media and blog world, yet I needed alone time. It took days for me to even make phone calls to tell my friends because I just didn't want it to be real. But after the funeral, it felt real. So I slept for hours, drank some sangria, and cried...a lot.
I go back to work today, and I crave the normalcy, yet after loss, I know that it takes a long time for everything to really be normal.