Happy Birthday Gregger!

Scan 14 (1)Happy Birthday, Gregger! #62! Today we celebrate YOU! Not the life you lost. But the life you LIVED! The love you shared. The joy you radiated. Your smile. Your laughter. Your grace and humility. A son. Brother. Father. Husband. And friend. Everyone’s friend. Those lucky enough to cross your path loved you. Minutes, days, years, or a lifetime. A shake of your hand, a smile, a kind word. You touched peoples’ hearts. You left a mark. So we celebrate YOU.

2012…We celebrated at Dominick’s and went to Old Town to party with the young folk! What the heck were we thinking? I don’t think we lasted very long. Our ears couldn’t take it! But we laughed. Loved. And cheered.

2013…San Diego. Park Hyatt Aviara. Food tasting for Ashley and Tyler’s fabulous wedding! Didn’t get much better than that! Until…

DSC_05982014…#60! I will hang onto this memory. FOREVER! Our last birthday. Best one yet! In forty years I never pulled off a surprise. Much less a BIG one! But I got you. And I got you good. After lying in a hospital bed for a week, you never suspected I’d be up for anything, much less a party. Your “real” birthday was quiet. No big shebang. You worked tirelessly at home all day. Orders. Ryan stopped by before work. I felt guilty. I didn’t want you to be disappointed. But I knew what was in store. The weekend. I made your favorite dinner. Chicken parm. Baked potato. Jamesons. Dairy Queen. Quiet night. But it was good. Better was yet to come. We had a “date” night Saturday.  Old friends. Great friends. I needed your car. You loved when I drove you to work. I knew that wouldn’t be a problem. It wasn’t. More time to be together. Lucky me. I was a wreck. This day seemed like forever. We got to the restaurant. I could barely control my shaking hands, much less my trembling heart.  We headed back, hand in hand. You were ready to watch the Suns game. I’ll never forget the shock when you saw those bleachers stacked high. Friends and family shouting, “Happy Birthday, Gregger!” But the surprises didn’t end there. First Ashley and Tyler. Jeff and Keena. Your bromance, David. And my sis, Suzy. Overwhelming. Love. Joy. A celebration of YOU. It was time. Little did I know that 7 months later I would be “celebrating” your life in a whole different way. This was good. Great. We danced. Laughed. And just let go. We Had Fun. You even said, “This is the 6th best night of my life.” I wasn’t offended. I knew where that stood. And 6th was GREAT. It ranked right where it should. Behind births and weddings. I got it. You were so right.

DSC_0672So now I continue to celebrate YOU. The YOU that makes me smile. Makes my heart beat a little bit faster. And makes tears fall when I try holding them back. My soulmate. My best friend. Thank you for blessing me with your love. I can only hope you felt blessed with mine too. Happy Birthday, Gregger. With Jameson’s in hand, Cheers to you my love! You made this world a better, brighter, happier place. And today it is sparkling! I love you!


greg eveloff

Gregger’s Legacy…Today It Begins

The grand poopah!
The grand poopah!

I’ve started writing this post over and over again. I’ve gone in so many different directions. But the same thing keeps coming back to me. I am overwhelmed with the abundance of love and support that overflowed on Sunday for Gregger. Facebook messages, texts, phone calls, collages, and more. It was endless. It is still coming. But the messages had a common bond. And that’s what keeps coming back to me.

One message stated, “ When someone like Greg leaves us, and because of his special personal magnitude of impact in all our lives, it’s like trying to fill a huge universe black hole. So incredibly vast and infinitely impossible to fill!! A true testimony to a spirit that changed all our lives for the better. Thanks, Greg, for making me a better man.”

This was the universal message. His compassion for life and family. The impact he had on so many lives he touched. He never said anything. He never let anyone know when he “did” anything. It was subtle. He was quiet. But he did it. Big or small. And he obviously left his mark on this world.

kindness gives (1)We can all do it too. Imagine this world if we could all leave such a legacy behind? So for one day, two, three, a month, a year, let’s try to live like Gregger. Let’s share his legacy. Be kind. Compassionate. Listen. It’s the simple things.

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

  • Smile at a stranger, just because.
  • Let cars merge or enter the freeway or busy street- stop road rage.
  • If the person behind you at the grocery store has one or two items, let them go ahead.
  • Hold the door open for a few people to walk through.
  • Give up a parking space. It’s not worth the fight.
  • Fill out that survey for a Target or Best Buy employee. It takes a few seconds and means the world to them.
  • Help a mother with a stroller, an elderly person with their groceries.
  • Send a friend a card, just because.
  • Compliment a stranger on their dress, shoes, or smile. It really doesn’t matter as long as it’s sincere.
  • Give a hug.

There are hundreds of little ways to make a difference. To do the right thing. The good thing. This is what Gregger did EVERY DAY. This is how he touched people. This is why people are reminded to live just a little better. Be good. Do good. Live good. That is the legacy I think of when I say his name.

So today begins the “Gregger Chain of Goodness.”

Reach out and touch…with your heart, your words. You never know what someone is going through, but a kind word can make a world of difference in a person’s life. It sure made one in mine. 

kindness gives

one more day

One More Day

Dear Gregger,

If I could have just one more day and
wishes did come true,
I’d spend every glorious moment
side by side with you.
Recalling all the years we shared
and memories we made,
how grateful I would be
to have just one more day.
Where the tears I’ve shed are
not in vain and only fall in bliss,
so many things I’d let you know
about the days you’ve missed.
I wouldn’t have to make pretend
you never went away,
how grateful I would be to
have just one more day.
When that day came to a close
and the sun began to set,
a million times I’d let you know
I never will forget.
The heart of gold you left behind
when you entered Heaven’s gate,
how grateful I would be to
have just one more day.

Scan 8Writing right now is hard. My mind is a mumble-jumble of emotions. And then it goes blank. I think about all the things I want to tell you. I think about where I was. Where I am. Where I’m going. It’s scary. I want to talk to you about it. I want you to tell me everything will be okay. I’m doing the right thing. I’m making the right choices. But you can’t. I want you to meet the new people in my life. My friends. You would love them. Amazing. Kind. Compassionate. Supportive. The kind of people you could hang with.

I want you to tell me you’re okay. I want to know you didn’t suffer. Are you at peace? If I know that, I’ll be better. Not okay. Not the kind of happy we had. But better. I made it through the firsts. There were so many. I never realized. They were tough. So hard not having you here. You’ve been my sidekick for 40 years. It’s like half of me is missing. How do I keep going without you? I wish you could tell me. I know you would have the answers. You always do. You always did. You were so smart. You didn’t think you were. But you were. About everything. I’m standing on my two feet because of you. You know that, though. And I bet you’re smiling. Punching those fists in the air. Cheering me on. 

2015-01-10 15.33.41I want to tell you about the kids. They are amazing. Each and every one of them. You would be so proud. They have each accomplished so much this past year. It wasn’t easy. They missed you. They miss you every day. I want you here to share the joy. We waited for these moments. Talked about them forever. Or so it seemed. And I’m so sad you’re missing it. But you must know. I believe you do.

Scan 70I’ve decided to celebrate YOU. No sadness. No mourning. No tears (if I can help it). I’m going to believe that is what you would want. Smiles. Cheer. Remembering the good times. So many. That’s what I want to do. That’s what feels right. Share the love. Share the joy. Share the good times we had together. I miss you. And I will love you forever. My heart is yours. If only I had one more day…

the first ten seconds

The First 10 Seconds

DSC_0058 (1)I have relived the events of August 30th so many times in my head. Rewind. Replay. I want a different ending. I don’t get one. I want answers. They don’t come. I heard the other day that within the first 10 seconds you have five immediate reactions to tragic news. I believe I experienced every single one.

Flee – Run away. As fast as I can. This cannot be happening. If I run, escape, it will not be real. It is a movie playing out on the shore. Someone else’s body. Not my husband’s. Who are these people wrapping their arms around me? Let me go. I’m okay. I can go back to my chair. Soak up the sun. Listen to the waves slapping the shore. Peace. If I run, I can hide. If I hide, it will be okay. But then I open my eyes. And see it is real. And I have to stay. I have to see. I have to believe.


Embrace – Hold on. To Greg. To Ashley, Ryan, Tyler. As tight as I possibly can. For the moment. Forever. Do Not Let Them Go. If I hold on tight enough, it will be okay. If I hold on tight enough, he will breathe. But he doesn’t. So I hold his hand. Cold. Getting colder. I hold it for as long as I can. And then they make me walk away.

Anger – Raging. Mad. You can’t do this to me. You can’t leave me like this. Alone. Come back. Now. You should have taken better care of yourself. I told you to rest. I told you not to work so hard. I told you I was worried. You should have listened. It’s not fair. But life is not always fair.

Sad – Devastated. Lost. Endless tears. Waves that keep hitting me over and over again. Harder and harder. Heart Aches. Pain. The sadness is overwhelming. I fall asleep. And suddenly awake. Terrified. What if he was in pain? What if he knew? The tears flow. They won’t stop. I’ve never felt such sadness. Will it never stop? Will it ever go away? This hurts. So bad. Go away. Sometimes I’m okay. And then it sweeps  in like a raging storm. It’s possessive. Stronger than me. I can’t win. So I let the tears flow. Until there’s nothing left. Because really, that’s all I can do. IMG_1383

Find a Solution – Why? Why does God take good people when there are so many bad ones left in the world? I search in my mind for things I’ve done wrong. Was I being punished? No. I need to be real. Rational. Sane. This is not part of someone’s will. Nor retribution for past behavior. It just is. But I need it to make sense. It never will. So I need to focus on how I can carry on the legacy of a man who deserved to live. A man who stood for goodness, kindness, honesty, and integrity. Maybe this is my purpose. If so, I must do it the best I can. To honor him. His memory. That is the ONLY solution. The ONLY answer. Be good. Do good. Live good. Love good. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

“I’m Free”
Don’t grieve for me, for now I’m free.
I’m following the path God laid for me.
I took God’s hand when I heard the call;
I turned my back and left it all.
I could not stay another day
To laugh, to love, to work or play.
Tasks left undone must stay that way,
I found that place at the close of day.
If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss.
Ah, yes, these things, I too, will miss.
Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My life’s been full, I savored much,
Good friends, good times, a loved one’s touch.
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief;
don’t lengthen it now with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me,
God wanted me now, God set me free.”
― Harold S. Kushner


Looking Back…

IMG_1473For 51 weeks, 357 days, 8568 hours, 514,080 minutes, 30,844,800 seconds, I have tried to look forward. Be positive. Strong. But the memories are smacking me in the face. One year ago we left for the trip of our dreams. 12 days of “happy time.” Together time. Family time. Hawaii. Beach. Sunshine. Sunsets. In a heartbeat, our lives changed.

One day before we left, I posted this on my FB wall. “Everyone will go through some hard times at some point. Life isn’t easy. Just something to think about..did you know the people that are the strongest are usually the most sensitive? Did you know the people who exhibit the most kindness are the first to get mistreated? Did you know the ones who take care of others all the time are usually the ones who need it the most? Did you know the three hardest things to say are ‘I love you,’ ‘I’m sorry,’ and ‘help me?’ Sometimes just because a person looks happy, you have to look past their smile to see how much pain they may be in. We all need positive intentions right now. Give a moment of support to all of those who have family problems, health struggles, job issues, worries of any kind and just needs to know that someone cares. Do it for all of us, for nobody is immune.” Strange when I think about what was in front of me. Was this a premonition? Was I subconsciously preparing myself for the nightmare I would face 9 days later? While I know there is no “truth,” I can’t help but seek it. While I know not to search for “whys,” I can’t help but look for answers.  IMG_1246

On that same day 6 years ago, I wrote: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. We have 86,400 seconds today – why not use one of those to say “thank you” to someone we love?” These were all lessons to myself. Reminders when I got stuck. Took Gregger for granted. My kids. My friends. My family. As the “anniversary” edges closer, I just want to say “thank you, Gregger.” Thank you for being you. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for loving our family. Thank you for giving us a beautiful life. A life for us to share together. A place to grow. Become better people. And learn. About each other. I am courageous because of you. You are my heart. You are my soul. Your arms comfort me. Awake. Asleep. I feel your presence. Life was not always easy. But that’s okay. Life is not about being easy. You made my dreams come true. You were my prince charming. And always will be. If I could have just one more day, there are so many things I would say and do. I would wrap you in my arms and never let you go. I would tell you over and over, “I love you. I am so grateful for you. I was blessed the day I met you. And I was blessed for a lifetime.” I would hold your hand so tight it would hurt. And I would not let you walk into that water…

never let them go

shining brightest in heaven

Stars in Heaven…Shining Brightest

Scan 17In these days leading up to the “anniversary,” I keep going back to the beginning. The moment I spotted Greg. And I just knew. 41 years ago. Bushy-haired guy, beer in hand, hanging at the pool. He never knew what hit him. And it hit him hard. He didn’t stand a chance. Locked him out one night. Talked the night through. One date. And the rest was history. Inseparable. Partners. Lovers. Friends.

My grandmother used to say, “You need to get down on your hands and knees. Every night. And pray. You need to thank God for giving Greg to you.” I resented it. I thought, “What about me?” Shouldn’t he thank God for me? Wasn’t I good enough? I didn’t get it. But as the years went by, I understood. He was one of the “good guys.” He was special.

IMG_1704It was the simple things:
1. Holding hands. Walking down the street. In the grocery store. In the car. Everywhere. It just felt good. Connected.
2. Helping out. Emptying the trash. Clearing the table. Picking up dog poop. Yucky job. But he did it. Sharing. Doing it together.
3. The Little things. Putting out my coffee cup. Every morning.
4. Laughter. Silly, goofy, simple fun.
5. Cuddles. Hugs. Watching reality TV he hated or shows we loved together! It didn’t matter.
6. Kissing. Before he left. When he walked in the door. And in between. I miss those kisses.
7.“I love you.” He said it A LOT!  On the phone, text, email, cards. He never let me forget it. His last words. They’ll stay with me forever.
8. Surprises. So many. Some for occasions. Some for nothing at all. That’s what made them extra special. That’s what made HIM super special.
9. My cheerleader. Greg was my BIGGEST supporter. Whatever I tried to do, he pushed me to be better.
10. My best friend. He listened. The good. The bad. The ugly. He didn’t always “hear” me, but when it was important, he stopped. That counted. I mattered. I knew.

me and greg 11People used to say, “You are so lucky. He’s so calm. Composed.” And I wanted to respond, “You don’t live with him.” That wasn’t fair. I was his outlet. His sounding board. Everyone needs one. He was mine. So WE were lucky. Blessed. He wasn’t perfect. Neither was I. “A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other.” That was the two of us. There for each other through thick and thin. Richer and poorer. Sickness and health. Good times and bad. We lived through it all. And we made it right to the end. Smiling. Laughing. Loving. Always loving.


gregger in heaven

Stars in Heaven…Shining Brighter

IMG_0234“Dad, you are not an anchor to hold us back, nor a sail to take us there, but a guiding light whose love shows us the way.”

Of all the roles Gregger played, this was his favorite. He cherished being “dad.” Doting. Goofy. Soft-hearted. Supportive. He worked tirelessly to be the best. To give the most. But pull back just a little when needed. Not much. That was the toughest part for him. His heart was super-sized. Especially when it came to his kids.

“Aside from being the best father a son could dream of my dad was also my best friend, my greatest mentor and will always be my hero. There are no words to express the joy I felt in every moment I shared with him on this earth. The way my dad lived life each and every day is something that I aspire to in the days, months and years ahead. My dad provided me with the best blueprint on how to live life; work hard, be persistent and passionate, but always remain caring and compassionate. Do what is right and always be kind to people. Always go the extra mile for others and appreciate those in your life.”  IMG_1169

Gregger was a little “old school,” but in time the kids turned him into the “cool dad.” He kind of freaked when Adam and Ryan got their ears pierced in fifth and sixth grade. Then he realized those holes could grow back. And they did. Years later those earrings were long gone. Good decision not to fight those small battles. When Ashley begged for the belly button ring, he cringed. But they too reached a mutual understanding. He was a strict one, but compromise worked. At least it worked in our household. Communicate. Listen. Respect. He valued their individuality. Their differences. He learned there is no rule book for parenthood. If you had a plan, chances are life would change it. So be prepared.

Gregger never thought about being a good person, a role model. He just was. It was his nature. Throughout his life, he showed his kids “his way.”

*Be kind.
*Appreciate the little things.
*Do what is right.
*Accept people for who they are, not who you want them to be.
*Work hard. Fight for success.
*Take time. Time for family. Time for yourself. Time to love. Time to enjoy.
*Mistakes are okay. Learn from them.
*Accept responsibility. Own up. Never blame.
*Love with all your heart. It will never steer you wrong.

If Greg had one wish for his kids it was to believe in themselves. To follow their dreams. To be confident. To find courage and strength against the worst fears. To fight when they’re down. To cheer when they’re up. And NEVER, NEVER give up.  Especially in the face of adversity.

0447Ashley_Tyler“Dad, my best friend, my role model, my superman, the first man I loved, my angel…I cannot thank you enough for everything you did for me, taught me, and for all the love you showered me with throughout the years. You made me laugh at the worst of times and taught me not to sweat the small stuff. You always made me feel like the prettiest girl in the room and could never tell me enough how proud you were of me. You make us all want to be better people. You were an angel on earth, and now the best, most handsome guardian angel I could imagine.”

11 1/2 months ago the kids thought their world had fallen apart. They lost their best friend. Their hero. Their superstar. But they’ve planted their feet on the ground. They’ve stepped up. And they have risen to the top. The brilliant bright lights in the sky? Gregger’s joy. Glowing. Beaming. Bursting. He knows. And his legacy will continue because they carry him in their hearts. Forever.


stars in heaven

Stars in Heaven..Keep on Shining

IMG_1461Gregger was so much to so many people. And he played each “part” perfectly. You rarely saw him without a smile, a bounce in his step, or a sparkle behind those fashion specs. Whether your chum, crony, or cohort, he made you feel as though you were his #1.

The Friend: To everyone. Gregger never met a man/woman/child who was NOT his friend. Everyone loved The Gregger. He left an imprint on your soul. A smile in your heart. The twinkle in his eye. The sparkle in his smile. It touched you. And made YOU feel special. As if you were his favorite. If he asked, “How are you?” He meant it.

“He changed the world by asking, ‘How are you?’ because he really wanted to know.”

He listened. He asked questions. And he waited for your answer. A man of compassion. A rare breed. A devoted, loyal, true-blue friend. He was there in the noise and the silence. Honest, a man of principles, a man of truth. Gregger made sunny days brighter and brought rainbows at the end of a storm. He loved unconditionally. No terms. No limitations. No judgments. Your way didn’t have to be his way. Gregger was the “every man’s friend.” He accepted and liked you for who you were, not who he wanted you to be. And he was fun. Charismatic yet good-humored. 100% genuine. He was grateful. And that gratitude came back full circle.  friends 2 (1)

Dear friends and family stated:

“You were present. You were supportive. You stood by us in times of uncertainty, sheer happiness, and inconsolable grief. You were an integral part of our family, Greg. The loss is insurmountable, but the imprint of love, kindness, and wonderful memories will always be with us. Thank you, Greg, we love you so.”
“Thank you for shining that ray of sunshine into so many lives including ours. You truly have a gift for spreading happiness to other people and making this world a better place. With Greg’s passing, we all suffered a tragic loss of brightness and color in all of our lives. We can only be grateful for the precious time that we spent with him.”
friends (1)“For as long as I knew Greg he ALWAYS was a kind, loyal, giving, funny, caring, generous individual, but most important, a wonderful friend. Whenever a customer or friend would run into Greg, he would always ask, “How are you? How is your family? How are you doing?” It was always about you! Not Greg. We are heartbroken about losing the friendship of such a wonderful individual. Greg, you will always be in our thoughts, our hearts and we will NEVER forget your humor, kindness, sweetness and your infectious smile!”
“Greg touched so many lives it would be hard to line them all up. I don’t think I have ever met a more positive person in the business world. He was always concerned abou how YOU were doing..never concerning others with any challenges he might be having. When I walked into The Clotherie, it always was an extremely uplifting experience, always something positive. I will always feel that I am a better person having had the wonderful experience of knowing, admiring and loving the man.”

do good 2 (1)The Humanitarian: Gregger was a giver. Not only to friends and family, but his community. While he was personally responsible for creating philanthropic events several times a year, he never turned his back on anyone. And he only cared about the “giving.” Never about the “getting.” With his commitment to giving back, Gregger continued to give after his passing. Friends and family honored him with mind-blowing donations to his favorite charities so his legacy could live on. He would be so honored by this glowing tribute.

“Greg made a tremendous impact on this community. I feel lucky to have known him.”

I was the lucky one. I am blessed every day. To live. To love. To remember.

To be continued…

do good (1)


Stars in Heaven…Still Shining

stairway-to-heavenI never imagined a year ago that I would be preserving Gregger’s memory. We should be celebrating life. Together. “If tears could build a stairway and memories a lane, I’d walk right up to heaven and bring you home again.” But I can’t. So I’ll hold onto the memories. The photographs in my mind. He was unique. Extraordinary. One-of-a-kind. There will never be another Gregger. And so I remember…

The Gentleman: Before he became The Gregger, he was just plain Greg. Simple. Modest. Unassuming. Gregger was a “Gentle” Man and a Gentleman all rolled into one cuddly delight. Big heart. Soft soul. The “gentle” man was considerate, kind, tender. He could melt my heart with the touch of his hand. Tears rolled down his cheeks at the first sight of his daughter in her wedding gown. He was the “softie.” But he was a true Gentleman. Courteous. Honorable. Respectful. To me, his children, his parents, his colleagues, his friends, his clients and himself. One of Gregger’s favorite sayings was “treat others as you would want to be treated.” This was true for everyone. From grocery bagger, waiter, or call center attendant to colleagues, friends, and family, it made no difference. Smile, be courteous, and always say, “thank you.” As Gregger said, “Being nice will get you EVERYWHERE!” I believe he was right. Gregger was first class. A colleague stated, “Greg was one-of-a-kind. He was a great businessman, had unbelievable style, but, more importantly was a wonderful human being who kept up with our careers and was the ultimate caretaker. He will be remembered as a true gentleman and friend.”

Greg best imageThe Man of Integrity: Gregger was a man of integrity. A man of principles. Honest, trustworthy, selfless, and gracious without a need for recognition, acknowledgment, or accolades. Committed, faithful, loyal. Selfless. Nothing came before family and friends. Gregger was last. Every. Time.

“If all bosses could learn from Greg on how to treat employees or just random acquaintances, everyone would feel as important and loved as he made us feel.”

A leader as well as a team player. Confident, never cocky. But so very humble. I don’t think he ever really knew his true value. If I could call heaven right now I’d say, “You have left one helluva mark on this planet! I told you so!” Simply put, he left this world a better place.

“Thank you! Thank you! These words are completely inadequate for what you have meant to me over the years. Your untiring acts of kindness always humbled me. Knowing you has made a huge difference in my life. I recall the years of joy in working with you daily and the funny ways you had in expressing a resolution to a problem. I miss you and thank you so much for being part of my life.”

Courageous. A fighter. Determined to get to the top but do it his way. Nobody gets hurt. Competition was not good for the soul. Principles. Listen. Pay attention to detail. Oh, he was the best. I was oblivious. But he was spot on. Ying and yang. He nailed it. The little things. He just got it. Knew when to apologize and when to forgive.

Funny, playful. From sensibly serious to lighthearted laughter, Gregger could pan out the jokes or be the joke. The true evolution of Greg to “The Gregger.”

“I liked Greg the moment I met him. I knew working for him would be a great experience. It was. What I didn’t know is how much I would grow to love him, and his family as well. He always treated us with respect and compassion, all the while inspiring us to do better, to BE better. I miss him everyday. His smile, his positive energy, and how he made me feel will forever be etched in my heart and mind. I am a better person for having known Greg.”


And finally, the PERFECT role model for his children. They are the true legacy he left behind. I know he is beaming with pride.

Gregger…I could not wait to be your “Mrs.” To stand by your side. To be the half to your whole. I was so proud. Still am. Of you. Your journey. Your success. A husband. Father. Friend. Brother. Son. And so much more. You did it all. With grace. Humility. And strength. Straight to the end. I miss you every day.


Stars in Heaven

“Live for something. Do good, and leave behind you a monument of virtue that the storms of time can never destroy. Write your name in kindness, love, and mercy on the hearts of thousands you come in contact with year by year, and you will never be forgotten. Your name and your good deeds will shine as stars in heaven.”

15This was Gregger. He is truly a shining star in heaven. He lived for something. He lived for a lot. His family. His friends. Truly anyone who crossed his path. He did good. He was full of goodness. He left behind a monument of kindness, goodness, and generosity that time will never erase. He will never be forgotten. He was one of the good guys.

As most of you know, this is a rough month. The anniversary of Gregger’s death. But I am trying not to be sad. I am trying to see the light. The positive. The growth. And the strength that came from the “shining stars in heaven.” His spirit. I want to honor that spirit. Gregger’s memory. He deserves it. So I will write about who he was. What he stood for. And the legacy he left behind. So well deserved. I will share messages sent to me. Messages that convey his most honorable attributes. There isn’t a Reader’s Digest version. So bear with me. The rest of the month is dedicated solely to my one and only.

Scan 19The Gregger: Where do I begin? Kind, compassionate, funny, generous (to a fault), hardworking (to a fault, again), courageous, and full of love. So full of love. Others said, “It is amazing how many people were impacted by Greg. His personality was genuine. He was kind and always positive. I will always remember his smile.” Five months ago, I wrote, “Because of his smile, he made my life more beautiful. His tooth-bearing, eye-twinkling grin melted my heart. In the worst of times, his boyish grin could mellow my ranting rage to a quiet calm. If Gregger smiled at you, he touched your heart. His smile was like a warm hug on a cold winter’s day.” It has now been almost a year since Gregger’s smile graced this earth, but it is etched in stone upon my heart. It will always make my life more beautiful. It brings me sunshine on a cloudy day. It raises me up when I’m feeling down. It gives me strength when I think there’s nothing left to give. Thank you Gregger. Today. Tomorrow. Forever. I love you.

DSC_1002The Professional: Gregger began at 8 years old and worked his way to the top. He not only had a passion for his industry but for his clients. He followed in his father’s footsteps and then created his own path. Five months ago I wrote, “The Gregger never settled. He climbed his mountain all the way to the top and enjoyed it every step of the way. The challenges. The struggles. The joys. But most of all the people he met along the way. He truly loved “his” people. They were all part of “his” family. Colleagues stated, “The industry lost a giant. Greg’s ability to recognize change before it happened made him a pioneer and someone that we all aspired to emulate. Well beyond the passion he displayed for his chosen career, he set the standard for behavior and overall level of professionalism. He was a class act who raised the bar for all of us and taught us all how to treat others. He was as kind as he was gracious, challenging all around him to be a better person.”
“Greg was a wonderful soul and human being! They have one heckuva haberdasher with a great heart upstairs.”

If only I had one more day. Just to say, thank you. You made me a better person. You gave me strength. You gave me courage. And you taught me the meaning of selfless love. Love for others. Love for myself. The greatest gift of all.  I miss you.

To be continued…