My grandfather would have been 84 today. I still have a lot of emotions about his illness and passing, but this isn’t the time for that. I’ve done a lot of thinking and had a lot of realizations over the last 21-months, but again, not the time. However, I do want to share one of my favorite memories of my grandfather in honor of his birthday.
When I first began working in Manhattan, I lived with my grandparents during the weekend so my commute would be 40 minutes instead of 1 hour and 40 minutes. I lived there from February until June 2007. It was during this time that John & I began MetroBuzz and I first met Jay. It was some of the very best times of my life. The Lost community was in full effect, I had my own “apartment” at my grandparents’ house (the same apartment I lived in during the first year of my life!), I took classes at a gym, and I worked in NYC. Life was pretty awesome. When I think back to that time, one set of memories stands out in particular. It’s going to seem silly to most people, but to me, it was simply the best.
When I lived with my grandparents, my grandpa and I used to have talks before bedtime. My grandma would sometimes be a part of them, but generally, they happened while she was either getting ready for bed or finishing up in the kitchen or on the phone with my mom or aunt, etc. (Don’t worry – I have a great, close relationship with my grandma, too.) He would talk to me about what was going on in my life. We’d talk as grandfather/granddaughter, and we’d talk like adults. I spoke and he’d listen. I know that doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I was never really one of those kids who was open. I never admitted to having crushes or told people what I really wanted to do. I was by no means shy nor did I lack the ability to emote; I just kept the more personal things close to my vest. I’d flip out or cry instead of talking about what was really bothering me.
Anyway, Grandpa and I would have these bedtime talks and they meant the world to me. I have always been close to my grandparents, but these talks about everything and nothing made me feel even closer to him. I felt like finally, someone was listening to me, and respecting me, and mentoring me all at the same time. After he died, many people told stories about how he did the same for them. There are people who are talkers and people who are listeners, and then, there are people who have this ability to make others feel safe and comfortable and inspire them to do better. I’m obviously in the first category, but Grandpa was in the third one. I can still relive some of our talks right now, even though I can’t remember what most of them were about. If I close my eyes, I’m still a 23-year-old sitting on a bed, having a one-on-one with her grandpa. I remember how the air smelled during that time and the mental state that I was in, but most of all, I remember feeling loved and how much I loved him.
I had a little bit of a cry this morning, but tonight, I decided to revisit another favorite memory. I’ve posted this video before, but it’s my grandpa doing a reading at my wedding. I had wanted him to do this reading at my wedding for as long as I could remember. Grandpa did many things greatly, but the greatest thing he did was love his family.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa. I love you more.