When I think about the wonderful, selfless, charismatic, kind-hearted man, that was my grandfather, I’m reminded of a quote by Erma Bombeck; “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, “I used everything you gave me.”
I am assured of two things; One, my papa is confident and aware that he used all his talents and exhausted every avenue to be the best person he could possibly be, and two, him and God are already best buds, as my Papa most likely found a common interest with him and struck up a conversation, (as he often did, the man truly didn’t know a stranger) and is most likely out on the beautiful greens of Heaven, playing a game of golf with God and other precious family members such as his father and brother that have gone before him.
Reflecting back on the life of such an amazing person brings tears to my eyes. My Papa wore many hats, and he wore them all perfectly. Perfect dad to his two sons, perfect grandfather to his 6 grandchildren and three great grandchildren, and WOW is all I can say about the kind of husband he was to my Nonnie.
Papa never thought of his needs and wants and always put others before him. He had a constant smile on his face, that despite how crummy a day you might be having couldn’t help but put a smile on yours. I have so many fond memories of him that warm my heart and comfort me during this hard time as I mourn his loss.
My childhood was filled with tons of memories of sleep-overs at my grandparents, birthday pool parties at their house, trips to Florida, and dinners out just because. My grandpa always filled my heart with joy. One memory that sticks out in my head is back in the day, before liquid restrictions and full- body scans at the airports, you could greet your visiting family right at the terminal. Wow, I kind of sound old, don’t I? Anyways, I remember coming out of that walk-way and seeing my Papa and Nonnie, and the welcoming looks they both had made me feel like I had to have done something right in my life to deserve to have someone feel that happy to see me. That was just how he was, he made everyone feel special, like they were the only one in the room. He constantly told my brothers and I how proud he was of us, and made us all want to make him prouder. He treated my Nonnie like a princess and made me want to search far and wide until I found someone that I could share the kind of marriage he had with her. I found that man, and was beyond thrilled when my Papa loved him as much as I do!
My Papa brought sunshine to this world, even the sing-song way he said hello when he answered the phone could brighten your day. There is never enough time in life, and we always wish for another day, and I feel this is definitely true of how I’m feeling about this great guy that I’m so lucky to have known. Today though, I celebrate the man he was and the legacy he’s left behind. I love you, Papa, thanks for being you.