Celebration of my Papa

For those who missed a wonderful celebration of life for my grandfather this past Sunday, I wanted to share my speech with the blog-o-sphere. I was just one of many who shared beautiful stories and memories.  I can not wait for the video to watch back since this day was a little bit of a blur. Thank you again to all those who came out, sent beautiful messages, and have been a shoulder to cry or lean on these past few months.

“As a young child, I idealize Papa for many reasons.  To me, he was wise beyond my years and could teach me about so many wonderful things. To me he was in a simple word…Perfect.

When I was young child, Papa use to take me into the garden and teach me about the plants and flowers. All I really wanted to do was play with the bugs or swim in the pool. He continued to try.

In the evenings, he would curl up in his chair in the living room and read for hours with me. It didn’t matter that he was reading Cat in the Hat or Little Red Riding Hood because in his mind, I was reading. To me, I just got to sit in the big chair that was always reserved for him.

As I got older, into those “rough teenage” years, he gave me books from the library. I in-turn gave them back to the library.  He tried to give me advise on school, I pretended to listen. The only thing that really caught my attention during this time was of course, what every teenager wants…money. We bonded over the stock market. I learned how to read stocks, bonds, and most of all money markets from the newspaper cause that’s how they did it back then. I followed closely how much my $100 was turning into. I don’t know if he will admit it but I thank Reaganomics for the boom of my money market fund to send me to college. Papa being a democratic would probably more than likely tell me it was just great investing on his part. Without his wise decision to bond with me over the stock market early on, I probably would have done what every other student of my generation did and had to take out loans for college. I feel I got lucky because he invested in my education not just by teaching about the stock market but also by being able to help provide for my future.

As I became an adult I found we continued to talk about finances and he stressed the importance of investing up until a few days before he passed. One of our last conversations was of him reminding me not to forget to max out my IRA for this year because social security more than likely will not be around to collect when I’m of age.


Living 4 hours away, sometimes you can feel left out when you phone home and find out everyone went to the local BBQ place spur of the moment but I always knew he cared. I would randomly get snail mail of an article from the newspaper he read which related to me whether it be my migraines or the housing market. There would always be a little post it note included which read, “Tam, thought this would interest you, Love Papa”.

As I have known grown, I have learned perfection comes in many forms.  Papa is perfect.  He was my idea of perfection of what a grandfather was.  He was persistent, strong and intelligent. Ambitious, adventurous, and supportive.  Loving, respectful and giving.  All of these things make up a perfect grandfather, father, husband, man.

Papa has set the foundation. Many paths have been paved for me to explore. Each one is engraved with his teachings along the way. As I continue to go on my journeys in life and explore the world and all it has to offer, his memory will shine bright and his inspiration for charity to others will flourish from within. ”


The Right To Die

As I read the entertainment news tonight to help try and clear my mind to sleep after a long and restless day, I stumble upon the article about Brittany Maynard.  I have been reading her stories along her journey for the last 6 months or so.  She is the brave woman who took her life (and death) into her own hands.  Terminally ill and wanting to die with dignity instead of the horrific way many cancers can take you out, she made the choice to end her own life with her loved ones surrounded by her.  At only 29 years old, she is so young yet has made such a brave decision.

Having to watch my grandfather, who is 90 years old battle cancer, he expressed at the beginning of his diagnoses that he wanted the same for himself.  He has traveled the world, fought in war, educated  our future generations, and lived a life he feels accomplishes himself fully.  Unfortunately CA does not have the Death with Dignity law so this is not an option for him.  Although I know I want every last second I can with him, I also know that I would have given him this option in a second to not see him in pain.

Which reminds me every day to value the seconds you have with everyone you have in your life.  Make the moments count.  If for a moment, they pass through your life, they will leave a footprint.

The Circle of Life…

I figured I would be coming home to a blog post describing in detail how Donnie Wahlberg and all the New Kids on the Block members knocked my socks off on the cruise this year but that will have to wait just a little bit….stay tuned.

Instead I unfortunately came home to some unexpected news. The news that my grandfather had passed away.  Yes if you do the math, I’m 37, my father is 62, therefore, my grandfather was getting up there in age and health, it was not something I had thought about lately. Which begs the question, what else am I forgetting to think about as life is too short to forget.  Therefore this blog post is dedicated to all those things I feel I need to remember not only to work on more day to day but also to thank my grandfather for helping to bring my distant family back together again even for just a brief passing to celebrate his wonderful life and love he gave us throughout the years.

Here are a few Thank You’s to start it off:

To my mother, who calls me day after day to check on me, chit chat, and some times even give me some jewish guilt when I need it.  You are my rock when I need it most.  You are the friend I call when I need advise. I am glad to have the relationship we do. I love that you let your light shine so bright to lead a path for me to follow.

To my father, no amount of time or distance between us makes me love you any less. I know I will always be daddy little girl on the inside.  As I have become my own adult, you have allowed me the space and freedom to wander.  I wish our paths were closer to each other as adults as they were when I was a child. No matter the distance in miles or days, remember I will always be your daughter.  Grandpa’s passing has reminded me that even though our daily lives are in different directions, we must make time for those who are farther away as they are the ones closest to our hearts.

To all my wonderful cousins – No matter how far you are both in distance and age, you are close in my heart.  To a special shout out to my cousin Cindy, who constantly picks up the phone at random times again and again to reach out me while I continue to forget to to the same.  You are always on my mind and in my heart.

To my AOII sisters – Thank you all for stepping in and picking up when I needed help the last few days, checking on me at just the right times, and even those who had no clue what was going on continuing to make me laugh as you always do because that was just what I needed.  Sisterhood really is about forever.  #ALAM

Leslie, Paty, Sylvia – Thank you for the best vacation a girl could ask for.  4 days of paradise with 3 amazing girls and all 3 of you continued to check up on me separately for the next few days.  I know Leslie and I gained 2 great new friends on this year’s boat and we can’t wait to see you both again.  BTW, how is YourNuts? LOL!

And finally, to my husband James – Without him, my life would be incomplete.  He is my heart, soul, body and mind.  He is my best friend (although I believe Gwen is his best friend). Although he did not make the trip to Los Angeles with me for the funeral, he is holding down the house and taking care of the the animals and work.  I was only home for a total of 45 hours and he fed me every meal, helped me repack my bag, shuffle the mail around, download my brain, research, and anything and everything I asked of him. I truly believe his heart is crying from my heart crying the past few days.  My life – and all the great it has in it – would not be possible without having James a part of it.  #143