Remembering How to Really Love

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This is an excerpt from the eulogy I wrote for my grandfather who died a few years ago.  It is his birthday on May 8th. He taught us so much about love. This is a long post which I tried to edit, but it was too difficult to delete much–he meant so much to me. This post is dedicated to him.

Really love by embodying love

This tune announced the arrival of my grandfather since I was a little girl.  In fact, he whistled it every night coming home from work when my uncle, my mother and my aunt where growing up. He’d come down the pathway to the side door of the house on and just as he passed the kitchen window, he’d whistle.

They, as we did a generation later, felt elated by this sweet melody because it meant my grandfather’s loving attention had arrived.  It literally meant love has arrived.  As far as I understand, there is an abundance of love in heaven.  But when my grandfather arrived Home three days ago, I am quite certain even the love in heaven multiplied exponentially.

Love has arrived.

Grandpa's eulogy: Anthony Julian. Remembering how to really love
Isn’t he the cutest?

I think my grandfather had a very important mission for his 86 years on earth.  His mission was to clean. But I am not just talking about cleaning spots out of clothes at United Dry Cleaners. I am talking about cleansing his soul and cleansing all our souls.  And he did this by embodying love.  Today, I want to share with you a glimpse into how my grandfather embodied love in his life.  And tell you a bit of how this legacy, starting from his own parents, touched the lives of so many people.

The great thing about love like this is that it is not limited

Quite the contrary, the more you share love the more it grows. It’s like a cake full of candles, with one lighter, you can light as many candles as you want: the flame multiplies. This is how I think of Grandpa’s love. Even though Grandpa brought his love to heaven, and he can still love us from where he is, AND he left an abundance of love here in each one of us. The love that he shared will continue to grow for decades to come as we parent and grandparent our own children. There is evidence that it is working because all of the great grandchildren are kind hearted. For example, my little cousin Aiden, who I think is a spitting image of my grandfather knows this joy of giving. He would always come with a craft or drawing to give to his Papa Tony. A few weeks ago, when Grandpa was sleeping a lot Aiden was waiting for him to wake up to present his drawing du jour. Grandpa would make a little noise and Aiden would run for his paper, only to find that grandpa didn’t fully wake up. His persistence is exemplary, because this happened over and over and Aiden would get just as excited each time finally rewarded by Papa Tony really waking up and fussing over his picture.

Grandpa wanted us to remember to do the right thing, because over and over he repeated his own father’s words: “Always try to do the right thing.” Even two weeks ago when Aunt Mary said to him, “Dad, I am so sorry you don’t feel well, is there anything I can do?” My grandfather was still imparting this wisdom. He answered, “Just do the right thing.”

Thank you God for another day so that I may help someone

Another way Grandpa expressed his love was by helping people. My grandfather loved to help people. His daily mantra was “Thank you God for another day so that I might help someone.” Isn’t this beautiful? Even if he didn’t feel good, he said this everyday, out loud as he got out of bed or pulled on his pants. And he did not wait passively for someone to arrive needing help. He asked and he offered. He went out of his way to make sure people felt like they could count on him. And, he would tell his sister Florence, “Call me if you need anything, call me if the kids need anything.”

He went often to the senior center and barely being able to walk securely himself, he held the door for a man with a walker as he and Aunt Mary were leaving. Do you know, he walked the man all the way to his car and helped him in? He was so generous like this. Grandpa’s helping was also manifested in fixing thing. He could fix almost everything. He fixed all of the machines at the dry cleaners, he fixed our cars, our appliances, our doorknobs, our sinks. And he loved to figure out how to fix things and make them run better.

He loved beauty and expressed this. Recently, Mom was sleeping over and Grandpa came into her room in the middle of the night and was telling how beautiful she looked tonight and tucking in the covers around her. One day when we were playing rummy, he said: “Jodi, Ted’s sister Cathy is so beautiful.” I think he saw holiness in us that sometimes we couldn’t see in ourselves.

In the last ten years, the Alzheimer’s had him repeatedly playing the same few songs on the harmonica and the piano.  Like “Silent night.” The song must have had special significance to him, since it stayed in his head despite his clouded memory. Sometimes he would even murmur, “sleep in heavenly peace” or just “heavenly peace” as he walked around the house to bring himself comfort.

Laughter is the best medicine

One of Grandpa’s greatest loving legacies was his sense of humor. He put people at ease immediately with his one liners, and kept them laughing. Like, “That food looks good enough to eat!” “ I’d better sleep with my glasses on so I can see my dreams.” “I’m pretty good shape for the shape I’m in”, “Is that a left handed spoon?”, “Did you get a haircut or did you get them all cut?”, “At least I’m not old and crabby. I’m old but not crabby!” and “You’d better answer that it might be the telephone?” If you didn’t respond with an appreciative giggle, he nudge you and repeat the joke to make sure you got it. Grandpa loved to laugh. Whenever he made a mistake, instead of getting frustrated he’d just laugh at himself. He did a belly giggle with is tongue between his teeth like the big kid that he was. He made so many funny mistakes that this kept him chuckling. His kids definitely acquired this sense of humor. When they were caring for him at the end, they would joke about who was doing what. If Aunt Mary was giving him a shot, she’d say “Dad, Joanne’s giving you a shot now.” Or vise versa, someone would be feeding him ice cream and across the room, Uncle Mike would yell, “Dad it’s Mike, I’m giving you ice cream.”

Anthony Julian, Nan Julian, Grandpa's Eulogy

Hun

Grandma and Grandpa shared a beautiful relationship. He was deeply appreciative of my her. He’d call her “My bride”, saying “Isn’t she beautiful, she’s so beautiful, I love her so much, she does everything for me.” And she did do everything for him. My grandmother gave him ten extra years through her care in checking his blood sugar, giving him healthy food, keeping him company. She gave him joy. Grandma and Grandpa never called each other Tony and Nan. They called each other “Hun” Always! My cousins and I used to joke about it when we were little. We thought they both had the same first name. Even when they argued they called each other “Hun”. They were so devoted to loving one another. They were always together and Grandpa did not want to go anywhere without her. He’d miss her dearly when she went out shopping or to the hairdresser, asking after her. He felt so safe in her care. She worked so hard and she, too knew how to do it right.

You’re probably thinking, Jodi is just saying “love love love love love.” Yep, I am. This is the only way I can sum up my grandfather’s life. Love love love love love. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all sum up our life that way?

Heavenly Peace

The last moments of Anthony Michael Julian’s life were beautifully peaceful with his family’s arms around him. Now, I’m imagining Grandpa putting his arms around all of us, always staying near. Whenever we left a party, we would kiss Grandpa to say goodbye. He would always correct us. “Never say goodbye it’s too final. Just say ‘So long’ or ‘See you later’”. “Goodbye” to my grandfather meant disconnection to those he loved. And he knew that even when we left each other physically, we can still stay connected to him. Even now we can feel our worth in his eyes and I don’t think we’ll ever keep those one liners from popping into our head in certain situations. I read that the phrase “ so long” was adapted into English from the Arabic word, “Salaam” meaning peace. How perfect is that? Peace. “So long grandpa, see you later in heavenly peace.”

Remembering how to really love Grandpa's eulogy, Anthony Michael Julian

Who in your life embodies love?

 

Read about some other grandparents:

Lily Lobozzo 

Frances Enzero

Today it is All About Me


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54 Comments

nikky44

Thank you Jodi for “not deleting much” I wish you didn’t delete anything.
This is SO beautiful. He did a great Job because the way I see you is “love love love love”.
I never liked the word “goodbye” or “bye”. It upsets me, make me feel uncomfortable, and i so rarely repeat them when someone use them with me.
Last week a friend told me “bye” she was just heading for bed, and without thinking, I sent a long email asking what did i do wrong? because for me “bye” means its over.
Beautiful, it’s really so beautiful!
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Oh, sweetie! You NEVER do anything wrong! So long! Peace be with you until next we meet online or in person! Love you!

Nikky44

Thank you so much Jodi!! Love you <3 <3 <3
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TommyP

This was a beautiful post for an obviously wonderful man. You are lucky to have had him in your life ( and still do). Your writings reflect his caring spirit I think. I havent been able to keep up with yours posts lately so this was a great day to return!

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Love you, TommyP. Love the Tommy, Love the P, love it all.

Lisa W. Rosenberg

Jodi, the whistle, the photos, everything you say about him makes me wish I could have known this sweet man. Whether through exposure or heredity, it seems his nature shines through in you.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Your post about your father inspired me to do this!

Lisa W. Rosenberg

I’m so touched to hear that, Jodi!
Also, I just wanted to let you know I nominated you for both the Versatile Blogger and the Beautiful Blogger Awards! Here is the link to my post: http://lisawrosenberg.com/2012/05/08/versatile-blogger-beautiful-blogger/. No pressure; just wanted to share.
I think you might have those already, but still … 🙂
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thank you, so happy!

The Writing Goddess

Gorgeous post. Gorgeous man. How wonderful that he could live in love to the end of his days; no wonder you miss him so.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

We should all be so lucky to live in love. <3

Kelly Hashway

Jodi, just by his picture, I can tell what a loving man your grandfather was. Beautiful post!
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I LOVE this picture!

Joe Lobozzo

Jodi:

I was Anthony’s son-in-law. The whistle will Stay in my mind forever, as will his sensE of humor, love, and generosity. You captured his essence perfectly. He, indeed, was my father.
Your children, your sister’s children, and your brother’s children have a wonderful legacy fom their Papa Tony. Thank for making your grandmother, your mother, your Uncle Mike, and your Aunt Mary and all the family remember these treasures.

Love,

Joe Lobozzo (aka your dad.) XO

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks, dad, he loved you, too! Nobody was excluded, just like grandma!

brenda

I loving tribute and reminder for us all and makes me wonder about the post I just finished writing (not yet published).. Funny how love makes the circuit in our lives, in and out, and all around, it always come backs to the basics. I’m with Nikky, I wouldn’t have changed a darn thing. I don’t know if I would single out a specific person, but I like to think my family –even our quirky behaviors– is what love is all about.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Brenda you are so full of love, maybe you? can’t wait to read your post!

Aunt Mary

My heart melts reading this eulogy again! You do such a great job describing what is so true. I have so many wonderful memories of grandpa and I do miss him as well. He really loved grandma, his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with all his heart. He was also true and kind to friends and strangers alike, always treating people the same, equally… with love and respect! Grandpa worked many 12 hour days, and would come home and do any remodeling or fixing that needed to be done and of course would give us his full attention and love by playing with us, and even letting us help him on different projects. He truly lived up to his words when he was dying and I asked him what I could do for him in frustration and he said “Just do the best you can!” I think that is what is expected of each and every one of us as we travel through and make our mark in life. I could go on and on about grandpa too, but I will just say “So Long” for now and thank you this post as it was such a comfort knowing the memories of the ones we Love last forever!!!

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Peace, Aunt Mary. And we carry on the legacy from here, loving and bringing peace.

Jeanna Ross

Your words bring tears to my eyes as I remember the wonderful, warm, full of love man that was our Grandpa. His love has definitely been a legacy to our family. We were blessed, indeed.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

I know, don’t you love that photo of him playing cards! I love it!

Lin

Great article about your grandfather! lin

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks Lin for stopping by!

Tina Barbour

Jodi, I’m sitting here in tears-not sad, but joyful that you had (and have) such a wonderful man in your life. This is such a beautiful post and such a beautiful remembrance of a fine man. You take after him, because you exhibit the love and caring that you describe in your grandfather. Thank you so much for sharing this.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks,Tina

Marie

This is a beautiful article Jodi. Your granddad I am sure left a mark in many people’s lives and hearts.
Love, love, love,……..only love counts. When we have, send, share love, everything is possible. If there is only one word to remember it is this one.

Thank you so much for sharing with us today.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks marie, your sweet words mean so much!

Michael Julian

Jodi:

Thanks so much for putting this together and sharing it with everyone to see what a wonderful person our grandfather is. We all miss him very much. Happy Birthday Grandpa! We love you.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks, Mike!

kirri

Jodi…My grandmother has been ill for some time and deteriorating by the day. She no longer recognizes me when I visit. I found so much comfort in reading about your grandfather today – not just the loving legacy he left behind but the continuing loving relationship you obviously have. Today of all days – this has really helped me – Thank you x

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks, Kirri, I feel the pain you are going through. I am so glad you found comfort in what I am saying and that it helped you. Glad to be of service. It means so much coming from someone as talented and accomplished as you!

Monica

Jodi,
What a loving tribute to your grandfather. He sure sounds like a hoot. Some of those jokes I used to hear from my ex-father-in-law, who was also very funny. Maybe it was a generational thing, or perhaps they were cut from the same cloth. In any case, your love for your grandfather surely shines through! Thanks for sharing, Jodi.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

He was so funny! Maybe it was the jokes of the time. Much cleaner than they are today, right?

Brandy Julian

Jodi,
I, like other readers, am smiling with tears over your beautiful words of remembrance for your Grandfather. He was warm and welcoming from the day I met him, and I always thought the world of him. A Grandpa that I miss very much also. His humor, kind-hearted spirit, and all around unique goodness. Such a wonderful, wonderful man. He was the greatest example for his family and that’s proven in all of you. He inspires me to do the best I can to raise my children (his great grandchildren) to have that similar admirable character as Grandpa Julian…and to “do the right thing”.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Brandi,
It warms my heart that you came to read and comment. I know you are a busy new mom. (I have to see this bebe!) He was such a great man. You do exemplify him and your own father. Goodness through and through!
Love,
Jodi

Bella

“Thank you God for another day so that I might help someone.” Jodi, this made me tear up. My goodness, what a special man your grandfather! I think this is what living is all about–helping our fellow man, showing kindness to others. As I look at your granddad’s photo, I see kindness. I see his willingness to help others. Now that’s what I call a life well lived! What a role model and how lovely that you have so many beautiful memories. What you wrote about your grandfather’s whistle reminded me of my father. He too would whistle and make my sisters and I laugh. We miss these special people, don’t we? This is a beautiful tribute to your grandfather and I’m so glad you shared it with us! 🙂
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

It is beautiful, that’s what made him get out of bed. Yes, we do miss them but with such a happiness that they touched our lives at all, ya know? Maybe it takes some distance to realize that. Like, we could have never had it at all, but we did. I am grateful. Thanks you, xoxo

Joanne

Jodi. Thank you so much for the beautiful tribute to grandpa. Obviously his life and love has been passed down to his grandchildren. You are an inspiration and have definitely have carried on his legacy of love of life and the people you meet. Love, Mom

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Aaaawww! Thanks, Mom!

Uncle Mike

Hi Jodi,

Thank you so much for putting into words those things that are in our hearts. I know grandpa is/would have been happy to know how much he meant to all of us. His crusade in life to make people smile, and he sure succeeded.

It is a beautiful tribute to Grandpa. I found myself wanting to read it over and over.

I’m so proud of you and all your professional and personal accomplishments, Jodie. Your a great mom with a beautiful family.

Love

Uncle Mike

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

You are the best Uncle Mike! You are a chip off the old block through and through!

Nick Hovick

Jodi, thanks for your reminiscences.
My mother recently passed on. At the Celebration, when I stood to give a eulogy, the sea of faces shone with the loving recollection of her teaching and personal concern for everyone who came into her theater arts school. One gal, who had only dropped in to help out with a production was going through a very hard time. Mom sensed it. She brought her into the office, closed the door and made a cup of tea for her. Then she sat beside with a gently hand upon her arm until the woman could begin to talk about her pain and give it up to the delight of meeting such a loving person when she felt no one was there to care for her.
There is are many many loving people in my life.
Finally – I like your gramps. He is quite a mensche.
And I love your 200 watt smile!

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks Nick! I am sorry about your mom but she sounds like the same person as my great grandmother. You can read about her here http://healnowandforever.net/2012/02/20/great-grandmother-frances/. SO beautiful! Thank you so much!

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Love the designs on your website, wish you were closer! 🙂

Nick Hovick

I travel. I’ve done projects in Los Angeles and Austin, Tx. And then there is the ever popular world of Freight.

Thanks for redecorating part of my world with your startlingly simple, clear observations! Keep rolling towards the light, Jodi!

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Thanks Nick, great to interact with such great energy as yours. Sometime I will have to show you what I have created. We built an environmentally friendly house and people say it is quite beautiful!

Nikky44

something strange happened. I thought of your grandfather, of this post, and I read now that tomorrow is his birthday. Since last year when I read that post, I loved him without knowing him.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

You love everyone whether you knwo them or not so it doesn’t surprise me.

Margaret Duarte

What a deep and meaningful tribute to your grandfather. It’s obvious that his love not only passed to you, but manifests through you and streams from you. His love multiplies beyond imagination through your work and this website, and so he lives on.
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Jodi Lobozzo Aman

Margaret,
Thank you so much!

Donna

What a wise and tender man. He gave you a great foundation to grow into the person you have become.

Jodi Lobozzo Aman

For sure he did!

Lovely Signs That We Are Not Alone | Heal Now and Forever

[…] Read more about my grandfather.  (This eulogy was just picked to be part of a anthology! Yay!) […]

Do Goodbyes Freak You Out? | iLoveMyBrain

[…] My grandfather used to say, “Never say goodbye, it is too final. Say ‘So long’ or ‘See you later.’”  So long was adapted into English from the Arabic word, “Salaam” meaning peace. It’s not over: there is always time and space to see you later! There can be peace in our hearts then, and now! […]


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