Sunday, October 20, 2013

My Son's Tribute To His Grandpa

My son was not exactly a student when he was young.  My husband always wanted to wear a bag over his head at parent-teacher conferences, not wanting anyone to recognize him in case they overheard what the teacher said.  He didn't believe in homework or books.  Those spelling word sentence assignments were torture for both of us, but mostly me.

Well, things change.  Boys grow up.  My on is a wonderful success today, yet every time he does something wonderful, I still am in awe.  Can this really be coming from my little goof ball?  Friday morning he did it to me again when he read the most beautiful eulogy I have ever heard.  He might be pissed, but I am sharing it here.  My son and my dad share a birthday.  My son is the only boy (two daughters and three granddaughters.)  My dad and my son shared unconditional love.  My parents loved all their grandchildren equally but my kids always believed they were just a little more special, daughter for grandma and son for grandpa.
Over the past few days I have been trying to decide what I could say about grandpa and couldn't put anything coherent together. Last night as I went to sleep I decided to try to come up with one word to describe him and see if I could go from there. Quickly I decided the word is "duty".
Grandpa always did what was best for those around him, always putting everyone before him. Don't take that the wrong way. No one ever took advantage of him.
From as early as a teenager he worked to support his sister and mother. I am sure he gave back to those close to him long before that but the stories I know start there when he delivered telegraphs. Even singing ones. Anyone who knew my grandfather could tell you that going out in public and singing like that wouldn't have been his first choice of activities.

Later in the army he gave everything and risked everything anytime he heard the word "medic" shouted. For years after the war he didn't speak of the things he did and the lives he saved, not because he was traumatized or wanted to repress the memories but because he never saw himself as a hero. In his mind he was just doing what he was supposed to do and moved on with his life.

Years later my mother was born and then my aunt. As they grew up he work 2 job so my grandmother could stay home with them. Even when they got older and were in school he kept both jobs and gave grandma only 1 rule. She had to watch over them and be home to see who they spent time with. Make sure they didn't get into trouble or fall in with a bad crowd. Aunt Regina I am not sure how you snuck by. Or was aunt Terri really the bad one?

Grandpa would and did anything for his daughters. When Hula hoops were the big thing he got his hands on 2 and carried them home on the bus and subway. He was offered money for them, much more than they were worth. He wouldn't sell. No amount was worth more than the happiness of mom and aunt Iris.
At least not until Lisa was born, then my sister with me coming soon after and Ronnie the next year. I will never forget the smile that came to him every time we came over. No matter what else was going on when he saw us nothing else mattered and nothing could upset him. Not even how it would always rain immediately after he washed the car in our driveway. Or how Jenn and I would go down to our basement where he would be sleeping on the recliner and wake him up.

He would pretend to be annoyed but I know he always loved it. He would watch us play Nintendo or whatever other silly thing we were doing. He would even take his turn at Duck Hunt. I can't really call it a turn though. If he didn't have to stop to eat or go back home I think he would still be going. He sat as far back as the cord would let him and he never missed a shot.

Later grandma got sick and instead of working 2 jobs he changed career paths and become a care giver. Working 3 shifts. 24/7 doing everything for her. Not because she needed him to, although she did. He did it because it was the right thing to do. It was his duty. He loved our grandmother more then anyone has ever loved another person.
As grandpa got older and he was unable to take care of himself another amazing person entered his life. Effie his aide was with him constantly doing the things for him that he had always done for others. I use the term aid because I can't come up with the right words but she was much more then that to him. Even as he was unable to give to her in the ways he gave to others he still gave with compassion. Always looking out for her, worried about her getting home safely. Even those who were there to take care of him he would try to take care of. In his mind anyone in his life he had the duty to look out for.
I learned so much from him. I learned my first curse word,  "Macy's" and some great insults, like "Your mother wears army boots". He taught me valuable life lessons like to quit while I was behind. I can't count the number of times he told me that when I was misbehaving or goofing around. I knew when he said that to me that I had better stop what I was doing before I made a bad thing worse. Most importantly I learned the most important life lesson of all. It is better to give than to receive. The joy of giving far outweighs the joy of receiving.
Almost 90 years after he started giving he can finally stop giving and just enjoy. No more wars, no more long hours at 2 jobs, no more taking care of others or worrying about others. Just eternity back together with grandma.


burntoutteacher said...

Made me cry. You should be so proud, of both those men.

Ricochet said...

This brings me to tears. Your son is awesome. Your father was too. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Your son did a beautiful job of painting a picture of a man from his generation....Duty, responsibility, and most of all Love. And adding a touch of humor as well!!

I think many of us are shedding a tear because we were able to connect to our own fathers in these beautifully written words.
Thank you for sharing and God bless.


dkzody said...

Great tribute to father and son. You have every right to be very proud.

Condolences on your loss. Sounds like your dad was a super guy and will be missed.

Anonymous said...

His eulogy on Friday was absolutely wonderful..


ChiTown Girl said...

Beautiful....just beautiful

Your son is amazing, and he showed everyone how equally amazing his grandfather was.

Ms. Tsouris said...

This speech, and the others, were all deeply moving and brought tears to my eyes. Your son is far more eloquent than I ever imagined.