Tonight I stood in the funeral home and greeted many people who knew my grandfather. For the record, this man looked absolutely awesome. I know that sounds morbid, but I saw him just three weeks ago, and he looked worse than dead in that hospital. People gathered to say their goodbyes. Much to my heartbreak, my grandma continually went to my grandpa’s body to kiss and hug his face. She cried for a good portion of the day over his body, but after 60 years or so of being together, 57.5 of them being married, I did not expect this to be easy. I took quite a few Xanax to calm my nerves and hold everyone together because I am typically seen as the rock that holds everyone together; a title that I hold with pride, but realize that it’s a curse as well. Tomorrow, I will say my last goodbye and the casket will close. Tomorrow we will take him to St. Tobias Church in Brockway, Pa. Then, we will take him to the cemetery.
I wrote this eulogy for my grandfather to honor his life, love and dedication to his family. I was so excited to read it in front of the congregation at his mass until the priest at his parish informed me that because my sister was already saying something that I would not be allowed to.
That’s what I thought. I mean, why would I get to say my final goodbye? Why the hell is that fair? Why should I get the chance to tell the people what this man meant to me? My sister was getting to, so why was I any different? Or why would my cousin be if he had chosen something? In fact it was a good thing the priest said something to us saying I could not say my piece at the funeral because I was just about to ask my cousin if he wanted to come up with us. But I never got that chance.
Thus, here I am, heartbroken on many levels because I don’t get to say anything. The only person that will be talking is my sister. She can say a piece of my speech, but I’m going to be honest and say I don’t give a single shit, and I would rather my piece not even be shared. I wanted to say those things. I wanted to tell people how I felt. And I’m not going to get to say those things.
I’m turning to my blog, because I want to reach as many people as possible with the eulogy that I poured my heart into that I am not going to get to share with my family because of a rule. One rule, that ruined everything.
The Eulogy of Anthony Salvadore Grecco.
January 15, 1934- February 17, 2013
My grandpa taught me many things in my 23.5 years of life. However I think the most important thing he taught me was how to love, which he showed everyday to his family, especially his wife.
When I was young, I watched Disney movies every single day. I wanted Prince Charming to come sweep me off to a castle in the sunset. I thought to myself, “That’s what love is supposed to be like.” As I grew older, I realized that all of those fairy tales were complete lies. I’m happy where I’m at and I’m happy with Kyle, who I’m with, but I would be lying if I said that loving someone was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I had difficulty loving myself all of my life, so I didn’t know how to even love another person. But, if there’s one thing I have learned in the last three years especially, it’s that when people dream of love, they should dream of the love and dedication my grandparents have had to each other.
Over the last few months I’ve been helping my grandma take care of him and I didn’t regret that one bit. If she called me, I went to help her and if I couldn’t go myself, I’d send Kyle. I didn’t care what time of night it was, I went. It was during this time I saw the love that people write about in books. She would make him dinner and bandage his legs. She would make him do his therapy. And even if he complained she didn’t care because they never really argued, they had discussions. But even when they got angry with each other, they didn’t let it bother them. When they left for Florida this year I went with them. The thing that showed their love the most is that they stayed up a good portion of that first night just talking to each other while I slept in the next room. They talked about life and anything and everything they could think of. I was sad I had to leave but I knew I would be coming back, though I went back sooner than I expected when my grandpa went to the hospital. And again, love was the only thing I saw between these two. She drove every day to see him in Tampa. And they sat and talked and my grandpa slept a lot. But she still sat there, every day, to support him. I sat there to try to keep his spirits up and it worked for the most part. On the day before I left to come home, I went there with her to see him. I held my grandpa’s hand and gave him a kiss goodbye and told him that I would see him soon. I said that because I knew that if this was the last time I saw him that I didn’t want to say goodbye because I don’t believe in goodbye. But he kissed me goodbye and I started out the door. My grandma gave him a kiss and said, “Bye buddy. I love you and I will see you tomorrow.” And he said, “Buddy you have no idea how much I love and appreciate you because it’s more than you know.”
And when I look back at that moment, I use that to define love. Love is everything it’s cracked up to be and it’s worth fighting for…. It’s worth fighting until the last breath for. That’s what their whole relationship was about. It didn’t matter what people said, they stood beside each other. It didn’t matter what obstacle they faced, they faced it together. When they took their vows on August 6, 1955, they took them with God, and when they renewed them on August 6, 2005, they reaffirmed that no matter what the circumstances: sickness or health, good times or bad that they would do it all together. They were married in this world for 57.5 years and they will continue to be married in the next. Their souls are forever intertwined because of God. I know that my grandpa left his earthly home, but his soul is still around to guide us all. His soul can’t ever die.
I want to thank them for giving me the gift of watching their love grow. Especially for the last three years. I learned how to be a better person because of them. I learned how to love myself because of them and I learned how to love others because of watching them love each other. I learned that dating and marriage isn’t about being selfish, it’s about giving as much of yourself to the other person and guiding them through life.
Grandpa, I grow every day in my relationship and all my other relationships because I see how you love grandma and still love her from heaven. I wish people could have seen how you loved her as much as I did in those last two months and I wish people could have seen how much she loved you. I wish that everyone that got married nowadays would take their vows as seriously as you did, because then there wouldn’t be any divorce. But, you came from an era where if something was damaged, you fixed it… You didn’t throw it away.
So, grandpa: thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving my whole family. Thank you for giving me my mom and making her so strong. Thank you for loving grandma and continuing to love her every day. Thank you for never leaving us because I know you’re still standing beside grandma, your buddy, holding her hand.