Editor’s Note: When my grandfather Frank “Murph” Bodner passed away this past March, there were many things running through my head. I felt both sadness and regret, as I felt I could have been closer with him, which I still do feel. However, after reflecting on what had happened, the bigger picture came into view. The following passage is what I would have said had I given a eulogy on the day of the funeral.
As you all know, I wasn’t exactly the greatest grandchild to Poppy. When my parents divorced 13 years ago, the closeness I had experienced with both sides of the family changed greatly. Since I lived with my mother, I grew even closer with her and her side of the family. I saw my father every other weekend and I didn’t always get to see Poppy. This was something that I take some blame for, but I know the closeness factor is not all on my hands.
When I heard the news that Poppy had passed, I felt complete shock, disbelief, and regret. I felt in these past couple of years, I could have taken it upon myself to form a stronger relationship with him and my father’s side of the family. However, I was never able to do this and I felt terrible because of it.
However, it was during this time of being upset with myself for not being closer with him that I realized something.
Despite the fact we weren’t as close as he was with Billy and Brittany, I knew that he still loved me as much as he loved them. In high school, I played three years of baseball and Poppy showed up at pretty much every home game. When I would struggle or go through slumps, he would be the first one there to offer a helping hand and let me know what I was doing wrong and how I can fix it. Whenever I would spend time with him we would always sit and watch sports on TV. Whether it was baseball, horse racing, college basketball, football, etc, we would always watch it. Pop was a big reason as to why I love sports as much as I do. Sometimes when I was over he would even put on hockey for me because he knew I liked it, even though he was not a big fan of it.
Another thing he did was encouraged me to get good grades in school. When I did receive good grades and I’d tell him he always answered with a “That-a-way” and it made me feel happy. No matter what happened over the years I always felt that I made him proud.
Something else that made me feel some comfort and solace was seeing several old pictures of him holding me as a baby with a big smile on his face. It just showed the love that was there, as he showed to many of you who are here today.
Even though I may not have had the same strong bond many others did with him, I still loved him just as much as everyone else did. He was the only grandfather I ever knew and I’m very grateful for all the time spent with him when I was little right up until the times I saw him in recent years.
Pop, I am very sorry that I wasn’t there more but I believe that I’ll see you again one day and that we can make up for lost time. I feel like there is so much about him I didn’t know and that there is so much about me that he also didn’t know. I hope one day to get that opportunity.
Thank you so much for everything over the years and for being my #1 fan for me in high school. I will always love you and I’ll keep you in my heart always.
Post Script: For now I can walk away with a lesson out of all of this. Time here is very short and precious. I hope I can learn from this and try to re-build relationships on my father’s side of the family including a relationship with my own father, which has been bumpy over the years to say the least. I have aunts, uncles, and cousins who I barely know. If I could change this I would and it’s not too late to. So far I’ve done a lousy job of trying to do this, but I know that it can be done. It just takes a little more effort on my part and I believe that I will one day make this happen. Only time will tell.
PPS: I wanted to publish this a while ago, but I figured Father’s Day would be the perfect time to do so.