He couldn’t dance worth a lick. He’d shut his eyes and sway to the music, and his hapless partner would just do the best she could. We adored him anyway. He made us all feel beautiful. Some of us didn’t know he had almost total hearing loss and was just picking up the drum vibrations when he danced. Hearing aids made the noise unbearable in that country dance hall.
He was Italian to the core and made the best pizza this side of New York. He always was invited to parties for that. And his delightful sense of humor, the twinkle in his eyes, his teddy bear hugs…
He and I would sit outside and listen to the live band while discussing String Theory or the latest Scientific American article on Parallel Universes. He was one of the smartest men I met while out boot scootin’. He also was the most complimentary, after about three beers. He’d get all sentimental and tell every woman there that she, indeed, was the most beautiful woman he had ever met in his entire lifetime… And we all believed him.
And now he’s gone. I just returned from his funeral. Ever since Bob died on Saturday morning, I’ve been more ~ aware. More conscious of the sweet, salty, and sour taste of food. More conscious of how the heat or cool air feels on my skin. Less prone to worry about trivial matters. And, in the face of death, what ISN’T trivial?
They are falling fast around me. This is the third friend in three years just from our little community at Handlebar J’s. That happens, I suppose, at this age. But then, in 2001. I lost 8 friends. And none of them were involved in the attacks. Several aneurisms, a few heart attacks, one to cancer.
It’s the great circle of life. Easy to forget when you’re focused on day to day challenges. Easy to ignore as the days slip by quicker and quicker with age. I wonder if that’s why some people are so self-absorbed. Perhaps its a defense against the inevitable trip off the planet. “If I just focus on me I won’t notice the passage of time and friends.”
Yep, there’s a recession on. But it doesn’t affect Bob anymore. And gas prices are through the roof. Bob has a different mode of transportation now. All these challenges will pass. And thank God I’m still here to deal with them.
I remember one year when Christmas was looming. I was very grumpy about it. Money was tight. I didn’t feel like decorating the house just to take it all down again in a month. I railed against killing trees just to dress them up like trollops in my living room.
Then a very good friend of mine, a chef at a well-known hotel in Waikiki, was stabbed to death by one of his employees. The employee was standing there cutting meat and suddenly turned around and – boom – my friend’s life was snuffed out.
That afternoon, as I was scrubbing the tub, it hit me. His wife would much rather be scrubbing a tub right now than planning a funeral and a life without her beloved husband. His kids would rather be fighting over who gets to put the star on top the tree than explaining to friends and teachers why they’ll be missing school for awhile.
I finished the tub and ran out to the shed to get the Holiday decorations. When my kids got home from school they were startled to find the house decorated like Macy’s New York. I pulled out all the stops. I decided to act like it was our last Christmas together and made it the absolute best holiday we’d ever had.
Life goes on within you. Most of it is in your head. “Good” or “Bad” is determined by your point of view. And, Life goes on without you. We all miss Bob Grosso. This was a hard day for our little community. Ripples of appreciation for Bob spread to appreciation for each other. We hugged and cried. We swapped funny Bob stories. We wished we’d gotten that pizza recipe.
Then we all got in our cars and got on with our lives.
Go hug somebody. Remember who you are. Remember you only get about 80 trips around the sun, if you’re lucky. Bob only got 64 trips. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy today. Even the difficult and boring parts. At least you are here to deal with it.
Beth Terry, CSP, Is and Inspirational and Motivational Professional Speaker. She has spoken to more than 340,000 people in 6 countries. Find more about Beth here.
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