One of the most difficult times in a person’s life has happened, I lost my dad last week.
This is so very hard! Myself and my siblings are all really tight knit. My mom and my dad created that. They are the reason that we’re so close today not only to each other but to most of our cousin’s too. We’re Greeks, we love HARD!
Two days after his passing, my brother George and I were sitting in their living room and it hit us that we need a eulogy. We both looked at each other with wet eyes and said, “I can’t do it, You can’t do it either! There’s no way Steven or Nicole could. Who’s going to do it?” We thought maybe his brother Chris. It turned out he wasn’t doing any better than either of us were.
I remembered that when my father in law died a few years ago, his oldest daughter gave the eulogy. I thought to myself; Wow, she did a great job! She gave that beautiful speech about how wonderful her dad was through tears and such grief but she did it! I thought then, how brave of her. I realized now in these moment that bravery had nothing to do with it. It was all about respect and love. That’s when I knew I had to do it.
This is what I want you to know about my dad Jimmy…
I love you Dad, I’ll miss you so much!
Let me tell you a little bit about my Dad.
He was a man’s man. He was handsome, he had an ear to ear smile. It’s just recently that I realize that I got my big mouth from him. (You can take that any way you like.) He had many friends. (Although I’m sure that most of this was my mother’s doing) They had dance friends, lots of them. He had his ‘poker buddies’. He even added heat to the garage so that they could have a place for a regular game in the winter. He’d tell you that he always won or broke even. He had the friends he’d make with each restaurant he owned too. And what meant the world to to us, his four children is that he always made friends with our friends. All our friends knew him and as we grew up many of those friends would ask about him.
He’d answer the phone and always take time to goof off with our friends before we ever got to say hello. Mostly he embarrassed us, something that I know now is a parents job and privilege. Our house was “that” neighborhood house. It was in the middle of the neighborhood and it was a corner lot. So all through school and even later on, our house always had kids in the yard. In the summers, after dinner Dad would often pile whoever was there into the station wagon and bring us all to the Ash Street tennis courts. As Rona said recently, “We’d stay until the lights went off.”
My mom would want you all to know that he loved his life. In his last year or so he would tell her often, how together they lead a very good life. He’d say he was lucky.
Dad taught us a lot of things, again his job and privilege.
George would probably say that he taught him to always “show up”. You see, G always played sports though school. There was always a game and dad never missed one! He was always our best cheerleader no matter what we had going on or what we were facing in life, he was always there for us.
Nicole says that he taught her the value of a good laugh. She learned to be goofy and never be embarrassed by it! I believe it’s a key part of how she makes friends.
Steven learned how to work hard for what you want. He learned that you get out of life what you put into it.
Me, he taught me my two greatest assets. He taught me patience. He taught me that if you wait it out, you’ll see the whole picture.
Which goes hand in hand with the most important thing he taught us all. He taught us all not to judge! There was no room for judgement in our house. He never used the words, but we learned that if you judge a person you don’t see the whole of that person. Today that’s my best quality.
Everything he taught us, he did by example. He rarely sat us down and lectured, he didn’t have to. He raised kind and caring children. Of all the things he did in his long and very full life, raising us to be kind and all around good people is what he’s most proud of. I hope I do half as good a job raising my child as my dad did raising me.