This past Monday, my Grandpa Al passed away. He lived 87 years to the absolute fullest, but he had been sick for the past several months. Nonetheless, his passing came as a shock.
Strangely enough, I received the news about Grandpa mere minutes after I finished the first draft of the play I'd been writing about my pregnancy loss. It was like the Universe knew I was starting to come out of my "grief cave" with the baby, only to punch me in the gut with this new wave of grief. Thanks, Universe.
My Grandpa Al was a very special man. Just to put in perspective how special he was to my family, every single one of us wanted to say a few words about him at the funeral. That's a testament to the kind of man he was and how much he was loved by all of us. We all had similar things to say, but we each had our own unique spin on it. Another testament to my grandfather's love: he loved each of us in his own special way.
Words cannot describe just how much I'm going to miss him. The past few days I've spent a lot of time with my Grandma and family, and I kept waiting for him to appear. His void is definitely felt. But, he also gave all of us a ton of happy memories that we'll be able to reminisce about for years to come. One of the hardest parts for me this week was the realization that my kids will never get to meet their Great-Grandpa Al. Nate and I both choked up about this on our way home last night. But boy, will they hear the stories.
This was my eulogy for him. It only gives you a glimpse of the man he was and how much he was loved. But, writing it and reading it brought me some solace.
Thank you all for being here today. There’s so many things I want to say about my Grandpa Al, but I think when it came down to it: He was just easy to love. He tried not to ruffle feathers, he was so fun to be around and I always looked forward to seeing him. He loved his family very much. Growing up, I spent a good amount of time at my grandparents house because they lived down the street from us. He and my Grandma had the kind of relationship I aspired to have. It's no wonder that I found someone who loves toothpicks, swiss army knives, and black coffee as much as my Grandpa did. For my Grandparents' 50th anniversary, the whole family went on a cruise. Grandma and Grandpa played the Newlywed Game on the ship. One of the questions my Grandpa was asked was what was my grandma’s bra size. He gave his signature Al shrug and told the “host,” “I don't know… more than a handful.” The whole audience was in stitches. Of course my Grandma knew that was the way he would answer, and they ended up winning. That was the other thing about my Grandpa, was he was never afraid to push the boundaries a little bit. As a kid that was so refreshing. He never talked down to me because I was young. He just said it how it was.
Grandpa Al was also so sweet and had a way of making those around him feel instantly at ease. I remember after the Northridge earthquake, My Aunt, Uncle, Grandma and Grandpa came over to our house. I was eight and very scared, but seeing how calm my Grandpa was made me feel better immediately. You couldn’t help but be affected by his calm demeanor, and I think we’re all so grateful for that.
As his granddaughter, I knew I could always count on seeing his face in the crowd at every dance recital, play, cheer competition, and later on, screenwriting events. My brother and cousins can all say the same thing. He was so proud of all of us, and made sure to tell us. When he worked at JFD, the whole family would often go out to breakfast together. Grandpa loved showing us off to to his employees who all adored him. He’d even show us off to the celebrities that would sometimes be eating there. Maybe because of this is why I had the courage to pursue a career in Hollywood. The people whose careers I admired so much, admired my grandfather.
There are so many things Grandpa taught me. He taught me the small things like how to make the perfect sandwich, the purity of black coffee, and that farting could be an art form. But, he also taught me the big stuff, like how to forgive, but not forget, how to be supportive without smothering, and how to craft a story. My Grandpa wasn’t a big talker, but once you did get him to open up, the man had stories. I wouldn’t be a writer if it weren’t for him. And not just because he loved to talk about and see movies with me, but because he knew how to tell a tale. He’d give you just enough to leave you wanting more. He was also fiercely supportive. The last time I talked to him, just a couple weeks ago, he asked how my writing was going and if I was writing anymore stories about him. He loved when I wrote about him, or based characters on him. I think it was our way of telling each other we were proud of each other. In some ways, he’s in every thing I write because of how much he influenced me. He gave me the confidence to do what I love because he lived his life with confidence. And love. He will live on through those stories he gave us and now the stories we get to tell about him.
I’m going to miss him so much. We all are. But, I’m so grateful for the memories I do have and those will live on. I love you Grandpa.