Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A to Z '14 - Zest

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

Z is for Zest.

My grandfather had an amazing zest for life. I always remember him having great enthusiasm for...everything!

He was enthusiastic when he played with us or talked to us. He had a passion for cars. He had a great zeal for history. Anything - and everything - that he did, he did with such energy and enthusiasm.

He showed me the importance of having passions in life. He showed me that having zest in what you do makes you that much happier.

He did nothing half-assed. He loved everything he did. His life was not dull, it was bright, beautiful, and zestful.

It has been incredibly difficult to live this past year without him - especially to live with any kind of zest. He left a huge hole in my heart. But I also know that he would not want me to mope around and hide under the covers, so to speak. So I am facing each day without him with as much zest as I can muster up in order to honor him properly. I must live my life with the same joy and enthusiasm that he did so that I may carry on his legacy. I will continue that legacy, and I will do so with zest.

Thank you for traveling through the alphabet with me and for sharing these memories and this tribute with me.

And remember, Z is for Zest.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A to Z '14 - Youth

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

Y is for Youth.

You're probably asking what a 93 year old man could have ever taught me about youth.

He taught me a lot, actually.

He taught me that youth is not something you lose with age.

He still loved the same movies and same slapstick comedy that he adored as a child.

His sense of humor and ability to laugh were one of they keys to his longevity.

He remained as active as he could. Age gave him a back surgery and two bad knees, but he continued to drive (fairly well, all thing considered), go to church and keep himself relatively busy. He didn't let his age keep him down or use it as an excuse to NOT do things.

My grandfather lived life as fully as he could at every age.

Even at 93 laying in the hospital bed, I could see the little boy behind his blue eyes.

Youth is not restricted to age. It is only restricted if you allow it to be.

Y is for Youth.

Monday, April 28, 2014

A to Z '14 - Xenial

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

X is for Xenial.

To be xenial is to be hospitable and caring - especially to strangers. They are considered helpful and useful.

My grandfather was considerably xenial.

He was happy to help people - and animals - in need.

He would hold doors to others, help by donation or by reaching his hand out to help you out. He was raised to be a true gentleman and humanitarian.

He was incredibly hospitable as well. He was happy to host our wedding at his home.

He was a good man and was always ready to help anyone in need.

Xenial is an adjective you're not likely to hear very often. The next time you do, think of my grandfather. It describes him well!

X is Xenial.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

A to Z '14 - Writing

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

W is for Writing.

My grandfather was my biggest fan and supporter of my writing.

He always told me how good I was. He was positive and supportive. He told me that I do have something to share with the world when others told me that I didn't.

I can think of a handful of people who have helped me to become the writer than I am today. First and foremost is my grandfather.

He was, and will always be, my greatest fan.

I am blessed to have had someone so incredibly loving and supportive.

It's hard to see my work taking off after he's gone, but I continue to write and work diligently in his memory and his honor.

I will always write for him.

W is for Writing.

Friday, April 25, 2014

A to Z '14 - Valiance

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

V is for Valiance.

My grandfather was a very valiant man.

He served in WWII. He was an MP for a while, and eventually became a speech writer in the Army. He wrote for one of the generals. He was one of the first people to hear about D Day, and wrote a speech for the general that day.

He was valiant beyond his military service, though.

He was never afraid to take risks. Business risks, personal risks - he lived on the edge without being reckless.

Never once would he refuse to stand up for what he believed in. Defending what his right, he was brave and courageous when necessary.

He showed me that you could be brave without being pompous. He was quietly strong. Never one to start a fight, but always ready to do what was best.

Valiance, courage, bravery are all wonderful attributes to have. They cannot be used carelessly. But when used properly, they are the mark of a true hero.

V is for Valiance.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A to Z '14 - Unafraid

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

U is for Unafraid.

My grandfather was unafraid. Never once did I ever see him exhibit fear. When my mother was 16, they had an electrical fire in the house. When my grandparents got to the house, my grandfather ran in (while the house was burning) and saved the family parrot. The firefighters told him he couldn't go in, but he did anyway.

That was him: brave, determined, and always thinking of others (seriously. How many people do you know who would risk their lives to save someone else?).

He came from nothing. A childhood in poverty, he had to be determined just to survive. He started working as a teen in order to support himself and his family. With no degree, not even a high school diploma, he could not be afraid if he wanted to get anywhere in life.

He turned down no jobs, no opportunities. Even if he was afraid because it might be something new, foreign or awkward to him, he still did what was needed. He never let fear hold him back. He never said, "I am afraid."

He was bold, and he ended up making a name for himself in the process.

He taught me the meaning of courage and determination.

Thanks to him, I face life boldly.

U is for Unafraid.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A to Z '14 - Time

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

T is for Time.

My grandfather taught me a few things about time. He told me about the importance of time. How time with friends and family was far greater than time spent working. He showed me the value of an hour.

Living to 93, he also taught me that we don't have the time we think we do. He and I had always talked about me writing his memoirs. I figured I had enough time. He never got sick. If I had, I think I would have started to work on it with him. No, he fell and broke his neck. He was in the hospital for about a week. I got a call the day before he died. I was there by 7 am the next morning and stayed with him till he passed that evening. There was no preparation time. I couldn't just ask him to give me all the details he wanted in his memoirs. Even after 93 years, there wasn't enough time.

Time is a very fragile, precious gift. We never really know exactly how much time we're going to have. So value your time. Celebrate your time. Enjoy every moment in your life.

Time is important.

T is for time.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A to Z '14 - Selflessness

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

S is for Selflessness.

My grandfather was a very selfless man. He always gave and did for others.

His mother was a very hard working, selfless woman. At a young age, he learned the value of selflessness and generosity.

Working his way through life, he gave back to his mother. He gave to everyone in the family. He gave to multiple charities. He gave to anyone he encountered that was in need of help.

Mind you, he was anything but a doormat. There is a huge difference between selflessness and people pleasing. He clearly set boundaries which people respected. And he gave what he could: time, money, energy, effort. He was very respected for it and very much appreciated for it.

Sadly, we live in a world where selflessness is a dying attribute. Most people nowadays only live for themselves. Is it any wonder the divorce rate is as high as it is? Can we really be surprised by the hatred and killing in our society today when we glorify selfishness in the media today?

We need to return to our humanity. To give - even just a little - in order to help someone else. It doesn't take a tremendous amount of money or some huge event to be able to change someone's life. Just do the best you can with what you have. You'll be amazed to learn that the life changed is your own.

S is for selflessness.

Monday, April 21, 2014

A to Z '14 - Role Model

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

R is for Role Model.

My grandfather was the greatest role model a girl could ever ask for. I cannot think of any way in which he wasn't the perfect role model.

Wikipedia defines a role model as, "A role model is a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people."

His behavior was impeccable. He was always giving, helping, caring, doing for others. He laughed often. He took care of his family in every way possible.

He led by example. He was generous, he was smart, he was respectful. He gave us something to emulate.

His success was like something out of a novel. Growing up in the Great Depression, he came from nothing. He started working as a teenager - he dropped out of high school to work. And he worked until he was about 80, having briefly owned companies like Poland Spring and Revlon. His life was the epitome of hard work and success.

So was my grandfather a role model? Yes! He was the perfect role model!

R is for Role Model.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

A to Z '14 - Quality

For this year's A to Z Challenge, I am honoring my grandfather who passed away on April 3, 2013.

Q is for Quality.

My grandfather was a man of quality. He was a strong, positive influence. His character was one of the best. When you think of "quality people," he absolutely tops the list.

Any time with him was QUALITY time. We played games, we talked, he taught me things, we simply had great times together.

He loved the best, he lived the best, he was the best.

Q is for Quality.