While we are off traveling the world, life is happening back home. Sometimes in an emergency, travel plans will get cut short. If we’re lucky we’ll be in the same country and can come home to be there for family and friends. At first I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to be a part of saying goodbye to my late grandfather, but after the last couple of days I understand.
Saturday I found out that my beloved grandfather (at the impressive age of 97) finally left his body and parted to the next chapter. In the midst of a cross country road trip I flew back to Brooklyn to be with my family. At first I’ll admit I felt disappointed that I had to ditch my travel plans. I wanted to come home of course but I also wanted to continue my trip and live out all my romanticized road trip fantasies about the South! But I knew my family, especially my mother would be absolutely heart broken if I didn’t come home.
Luckily I was in Fort Worth, Texas and was able to find a cheap last minute flight to New York on Southwest Airlines. It’s hard to understand how important it is to be present for certain events. Being a part of the letting go and goodbye process has made me appreciate things about my grandfather that I wouldn’t have known had I not been there.
It was overwhelming to see the funeral home fill up with countless friends, family members and neighbors who loved him so much and recounted tales of his charisma, charm and generosity. It’s hard to be sad that grandpa Jack is no longer here, when he left behind so many gifts. His love and kindness were abundant.
I feel incredibly blessed. He has shaped so much of who I am today. And has set the standard high for any guy I’ll ever be serious with. He was old fashioned and a class act until the end. He was a WWII veteran and was apart of the Normandy invasion that helped end the war. I learned that during the war he sent every pay check home to his struggling family, and trade his cigarette rations in for chocolates. Which he would then give to the war torn children in France. He adored children, loved dogs and had boundless energy. He doted on me and always treated me like his little girl, even in to my 30’s.
I could go on at length about what a special person he was. How he created so many ripples of love on our little planet and within me. I hope I can be even a fraction as selfless as he was. I will miss his company, his voice, his stories, rhymes and little jingles. But I can’t help but smile as I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have had such a wonderful (and in my eyes the hands down best) grandfather possible.
All images © 2017 Lily Montemarano
Categories: Death, Life Lessons, loss, photography, Travel
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