Friday, December 24, 2010

Emil Daddy

Thanks for your patience. I've noticed some people coming directly to the site, but realize I haven't updated in almost a week. It's been a fast, fast week...

My only grandfather passed away on Wednesday, early morning and we laid him to rest today. About two weeks ago, we checked him into the ER for pneumonia symptoms and found out he had lung cancer that had metastasized to his liver on the side that was paralyzed from his stroke a year ago.

My theory is that the paralyzed side hid a lot of the pain that he would have felt in what turned out to be late stages of cancer. PLUS he was a stubborn man who felt no pain, emotional or physical. You might think Chuck Norris and Jack Bauer are tough, but that's because you never met Emil Daddy.

We called him Emil Daddy because he was a strapping, young 54-year-old when his eldest grandchild (ME!) was born -- he didn't want to feel old and he liked doing things his own way, so it was "Emil Daddy."

If you're as impeccably observant as my grandfather was, you've already noticed that his name is the backwards version of a tart, green citrus fruit. He came to EVERY Grandparents' Day at each of his five grandchildren's schools, bringing with him a bag of limes as a visual teaching tool.

"You'll always remember how to spell it because it's lime, L-I-M-E, spelled backwards," he said to a crowd of open mouthed elementary school kids sitting Indian style on the rug.

He was always a big hit and my sister says she has a friend who asked her last year, "You're the one with the grandfather with the limes, right?"

My Emil Daddy lost his young wife when my mom and her sister were 2 and 3-years-old. I was talking to a friend and cousin the day he died and she exclaimed about how she didn't know any man who is ready to get married at the age he was on his wedding day, let alone who is able to raise two girls. Those girls grew into extremely successful women with college degrees, a nursing degree for one and an engineering masters degree for the other, and kicking families, if I do say so myself.

Throughout all of Emil Daddy's own book of Job, he remained steadfast in the Lord. It was really something to admire. His faith was consistent and strong, even when it would have been easier to get mad and give up.

In his daily life, Emil Daddy was extremely organized. I cannot begin to explain just what I mean by "extremely" because you have never met someone so efficient and particular. He saved every used peanut butter jar to store something, he separated black pens, blue pens, and red pens, he rewrote the user manuals for his computer in notebooks, cross-referencing them in other notebooks (using color coordination), so he would absolutely know where to go when he had a question.
I'm on the left. Chubby little hand, huh?
I could write for hours about the little quirks and memories I have of this stoic yet sacrificing and giving man. In fact, I'm working on a novel that will explain the love story between Emil Daddy and his wife, Thelma. Sneak preview: we have a few pages of 12-year-old Emil handwriting explaining how he was in love with a girl in his class, Thelma, and how he wanted to marry her. It only took ten years, I guess.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing me into the world under the care of my grandfather, Emil. I will continue to learn from the imprint he left on my life.

Thank you for your prayers and your time in reading this. God bless you all and Merry Christmas!


Kevin said...

Wonderful post... what an awesome man.

I'm still trying to understand the name Emil. Forgive my ignorance. Is it a name that means young and full of life? Does it stand for something else in some other language? Did he choose it because he knew it was "lime" backwards and since limes are tart-tasting?

Elizabeth said...

Thank you!

He would be the kind of person to pick his own name, but no. He was half-German, half-Italian (with the accents and everything. His parents were completely pure German and Italian.) and he identified with the German side, though he was as tan as any Italian you've ever seen. Here's some info about his name.

Jim said...

I wish you a most blessed Christmas Elizabeth and I am sorry for your loss. I just wanted to let you know that I remember you in my prayers because of the great devotion you have to Our Lord and His work. I especially enjoy reading your posts about your work with first graders, most inspiring. It fills me with great hope to see the future of our Church shine so bright. Indeed there isn't a bushel basket big enough to hide your light.

May the love of Christ born anew today be with you and may he guide all the ministries you do in His name through the coming year.

vercfamily said...

You and your family have been in our prayers, Elizabeth! Your Emil sounds like a great guy! Merry Christmas, and we will see you soon!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Jim! I'm touched! I enjoy your work, as well and it's nice to be in contact with another Catholic Ninja as Christopher Smith would say.

Thank you, Vercs! We'll take your prayers and y'all are in mine, as well! Merry Christmas!

TheAlmostMrsBrastad said...

Elizabeth- I am so sorry to hear about your family's loss. You all are such amazing people, and it stands to reason that the pinnacle and foundation of your amazingness had to stem from somewhere. I have known you long enough to see that your family's closeness is at the heart of it all, and Emil Daddy helped create that and therefore has impacted a huge amount of people. I I love you guys. You are in my prayers.

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