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.


happy fathers day

Happy Father’s Day Gregger!

dadFor the past several weeks, I have been inundated with Father’s Day ads, exhibits, and displays. Mugs, t-shirts, boxers, baskets, barbeque sets, and beer steins stock shelves beckoning buyers to honor husbands, fathers, and grandpas everywhere. I walk by and feel sad. Another first in the year of “firsts.” Father’s Day was one of the ONLY days we could force Gregger to TAKE instead of GIVE. It was OUR day. We got to shower him. We got to make him our center of attention. We LOVED it! He couldn’t argue. He just had to sit back and TAKE it! Believe me, it was NOT easy. He just hated being “it.” Gifts were impossible. What could you possibly buy the guy who (a) owned a clothing store with everything from underwear to tuxedoes (b) didn’t WANT anyone spending money on HIM and (c) returned most everything anyway? Once his cabinets and drawers were overflowing with #1 Dad coffee mugs, BEST DAD t-shirts, and “I Love You Dad” picture frames, we were at a loss. His favorite gift – spending the day with his family. No fighting. No hassles. No conflict. He wanted nothing more. That was it. Simple. Free. In the early years, we did brunch, bike rides, pool time. As the kids grew, we were busy with tennis tournaments, dance recitals, and social events. All good. Happy times. Scan 12

Father's Day pics 3It would have been the two of us (well, maybe three) this year for Father’s Day. But he would have been home.  That sounds strange, but for the past three years he was high in the skies traveling to Florence, Italy. It was the bi-annual event for Pitti Uomo, the largest international fashion fair for men’s clothing, where designers launch new collections and projects. Gregger loved attending Pitti. He loved Florence. He loved the camaraderie with his retail brothers. But he hated the timing. Even with our kids grown and “gone,” holidays were a big deal for us. I was the one who pushed him to go. I knew how much he loved being there. For three years, we argued. For three years, I won. That was miraculous. Looking back now I wish I had said, “yes” to joining him. But I didn’t. I stayed home. Alone. Why? I had been there, done that. I didn’t need to keep going back. He was busy. I was bored. This was my year to go. We always added something special. One year Venice. Another Tuscany. Another Lake Como. We hadn’t decided yet. It was too far out. Plenty of time to plan. Well, maybe not.

IMG_0398So Father’s Day is very different this year. I’m lucky to have MY 92-year dad. Amazing! Sharp as a tack. Witty. Smart. Remarkable! Gregger loved my dad. They had such a beautiful rapport. Conversation. Laughter. More conversation. More laughter. I cherished those moments. My two favorite guys. The one who raised me and the one who helped me grow.

Father's Day pics 2I know my kids are missing their dad this year. He was truly the BEST. A mentor. A friend. He listened. He cared. He loved unconditionally. He was there. But we are all better people because he showed us the way. Happy Father’s Day Gregger!  I miss you every day! And I will love you forever!