October 10, 2012

What My Grandfather Taught Me

He was the featherweight champ in the war (one of my favorite pictures of him)

Six years have passed since the loss of my grandfather. It is a very large hole that no one can fill. He was quite the character. My family still retell stories of him that will forever crack us up. He died peacefully in his sleep after struggling with liver disease for many years. The doctors gave him no more than 2 years to live, but like a true stubborn Irishmen he lived another 5. My family often calls me "Grandpa Junior" because I take after him in so many ways. Very rarely do you get to meet another person and see so much of your personality in them. It was very comforting and inspiring. He was a ball buster but loved those close to him unconditionally. Anyone would be lucky to have him in their lives. He kept you entertained and you always knew he'd support you. Here's what he taught me:

Instagram of a pic of us

Enjoy life. He wasn't a rich man, he wasn't a successful man by society's definition but he was the happiest person I knew. He enjoyed everything life had to offer especially family. He faced many hardships but you wouldn't know it from talking to him. Never was bitter or held a grudge. His charm and personality were loved by all who met him.

Money can't buy you happiness. One of my favorite things about my grandfather was he didn't care about anyone's status, he treated everyone the same. He never asked "what's your job? what college did you go to?" Those didn't impress him. There were two questions he asked everyone when meeting them, "Are you wearing an undershirt?" and "How's your love life?" He grew up in the Depression era when people didn't have much. He definitely valued his relationships with his family more than money. Something I admire and try to instill in my own priorities.

Be able to laugh at yourself. On top of enjoying life, the man never took himself too seriously. If there was an awkward tension at the table, he was the first one to break the silence. His laugh was infectious. While it may not have always been appropriate (or politically correct), we appreciated the chance to not focus on the negative.

Busting chops means he loved you. This is a family trait in general. We go hard on people but it's sort of like a test to make sure they can hang. The more my grandfather busted your chops, the more he loved ya. That's why you better be able to laugh at yourself. His last words were to my Aunt Barbara before he went to sleep (and a moment I think that sums up his personality perfectly) were "If bullshit were ketchup, you'd be pride of the farm."

Him at my sister's wedding only a few months before he passed. At least he got to see one of his grandkids get married - a goal of his! 

In loving memory of William Harold.


  1. so many wonderful memories. miss you gramps!

  2. So sweet to remember your grandfather here. I can so relate to the way you appreciate and miss him!

    xo Mary Jo

  3. Your grandfather sounds amazing. Love all that he taught you too!

  4. Aw he sounds like such a great man. And he looks genuinely happy in these pictures. I bet he's looking down on you, proud of his junior him ;)

  5. Such a lovely tribute post Kim. My granddad was a stubborn Irish man too :-) Lived well until his 90s, I miss him a lot.


  6. <3<3<3 these pictures are priceless...you can totally see how happy he lived his life. you're so lucky to have such great memories of him and i'm sure your family love having you as a grandpa junior.


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