Laughter through the tears and a smile from an aching heart. That’s what we’re facing. Tomorrow marks the 5th anniversary of my Grandpa’s passing. I remember every moment of the days and weeks leading up to that day, and the heartbreak when he passed in the early hours of Sunday, September 22, 2013. The days, months and even years following his passing have been, at times, incredibly sad, where the tears have flowed like they did 5 years ago, and also wonderfully heartwarming, as I let the memories of all the time I was blessed to have with him flood back into my heart. The last 5 years have been, in a word, bittersweet.
His absence in our lives is palpable, but the mark he left is indelible. Whether I’m making his Sunday gravy, enjoying a cool breeze, which he affectionately called “God’s air conditioning,” or looking at a photo of his infectious smile that’s sitting on the bay windowsill in our living room, he’s with us. When my family gathers together with food and good times, he’s with us. As Nick, his kids, and his family join mine, Grandpa is right there with us. In everything we do at Fat, Drunk & Fancy, he’s with us.
For me, Fat, Drunk & Fancy is a tribute to my Grandpa and the mark that his warmth and love left on my heart. It is a collection of my childhood memories and all the holidays, family gatherings, meals and conversations that took place at the dinner table. It is a feeling, like the one I always felt walking into my Grandparents house where I knew I was home. It is a taste, like the gravy my Grandpa finally taught me to make two weeks before he passed away. Fat, Drunk & Fancy is all these things, all these feelings, all these memories wrapped up into a gift that I want to give to other people, especially my two step-kids. They get that feeling every time they enter our home. They are a part of every conversation around the dinner table. They lend a hand in making the gravy now and savor the tastes of great food and loving family. They know how infectious laughter is and share in it openly. They will be with us this weekend as we celebrate my Grandpa’s life. Nick and I both hope they will learn how incredibly special this man was, not just to me and my family, but to everyone he met. They never had a chance to meet him, and neither did Nick, but they will surely feel his presence.
There will be laughter, plenty of laughter. The stories will flow like wine into a waiting glass. With any luck, someone will snort. Probably me. Definitely me. We’ll pull out pictures and listen to exactly how Grandpa came to be dressed in a hula skirt one day, and what was so funny in the picture sitting on the windowsill. He lived the life he wanted us to live, and through this celebration, and through the way in which we live our lives now, his lesson is being passed down to my step-kids, and you can see the excitement, wonder, and happiness in their eyes that they are along for this ride.