A letter to my Grandfather

Dear Zeyde,

I’m not really sure where to begin, but I’d like to start off by saying thank you for being such an inspiration in all of our lives. 

Without you, I wouldn’t be who I am today and the gratitude I have for knowing that simply cannot be expressed through words. 

I’m grateful for the time that we got to spend together over the last 30 years. 

I will never forget all of the jokes in your back pocket. And maybe even more funny than your jokes were Bubbe’s reaction to them after having heard them thousands of times over the years. 

Especially the one when you and Bubbe were in the garage and she asked you to marry her and you couldn’t back out.

I have so many great memories that I will fight to remember with as much clarity as I possibly can. 

Like how you always used to listen to AM radio in the car, our times playing shuffleboard, poker and pool. How you always used to shoot the basketball underhand, how you printed out and saved every single one of my sports articles, and how you and Bubbe were always mine and Daniel’s #1 fans at all of our basketball games. 

How you’d pick grapefruit off the trees in Oriole Gardens, how you’d make us grilled cheese sandwiches with ketchup on the side, and how much you loved going to the buffets like Cici’s, Bellantes, and your two favorites of all time, Sweet Tomatoes and Golden Corral. 

And I’ll never forget the time Shawna and I snuck you in chicken nuggets and how quickly you started eating them because you thought Bubbe was going to catch you. 

There’s no doubt about it that I acquired my love for food from you!

Thank you so much for making all of us feel so loved and special. You’ve always been such a positive presence in my life and were never short on telling me how proud you are of me and the life that I’ve created for myself, and that is something that I will hold on to for the rest of my life. 

Not everyone is fortunate enough to have grandparents in their life, and to be able to have had and felt the love and joy and laughs that you filled my world with for as long as I can remember is something that I will cherish for my entire life. 

I feel so fortunate that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of your life, and I’m honestly not sure what I did to deserve the greatest grandfather of all time.

As I’ve gotten older and I look back on our times spent together, I realize just how much your influence has made on my life. 

Your generosity and kindness towards others, like the waiter at Sweet Tomatoes and how much joy and appreciation I could see in his eyes each time he saw you. All of the nurses that took care of you over the years, and how easy it was for them to just be themselves when they were around you. 

You always illuminated with an energy that can’t be described, but that everyone who knows you immediately felt when in your presence. 

We all know that things were not easy for you over the last few years, and to be able to see you with a smile on your face each time I came to visit you despite what you were going through just proves the rare and incredible person that you are. While most people in your position would be angry and take it out on those around them, you would tell us how glad you were to see us and tell us a couple of jokes.

You’ve overcome so much, even when the doctors told us last year that the end was approaching, within a day or two to all of our amazement you were awake and eating. Nothing has stopped you from living your life, you are the epitome of a warrior, and to be a witness to the courage, strength, hope and positivity that you have embodied is something we are all very grateful for. You would want us to be warriors too right now and keep fighting to live our best lives. 

I know in my heart that over the last few months you held on and fought just so that you could see Bubbe a few more times before leaving this world. 

I’m not sure if anyone has the strength that you possess, and I know Bubbe doesn’t like to believe it, but being married to you for 62 years has created that same strength within her. 

On your 84th birthday we went to an Italian restaurant and I recall sitting right next to you when the waitress came to take your order. She looked at you and asked you how were you doing and if you were okay and I vividly remember your face lighting up, you putting on your patented smile and your eyes opening wide and saying something along the lines of, why wouldn’t I be? Everything that I could ever want is right here in front of me, as you looked around the table at your family. 

That gratitude and love for life has inspired all of us Zeyde. 

You always said that you never worked a day in your life and that you loved what you did, and how despite the tough times over the last few years that you still wouldn’t trade it for the world, and how great of a run you had.

Being able to not just hear you say those words but actually live by them has been one of the greatest influences in my life. I strive to live my life with that same gratitude and love and I hope that I can continue to pass on what I’ve learned from you and your actions and inspire others the same way that you’ve done for me. 

If I can one day become even half the man that you are, I will feel like I lived a valuable life. But even if I can’t, I know with certainty that you’ll be proud of me either way. 

In Austin there’s a park that I ride my bike to and I like to sit on a bench right near a memorial plaque and what’s written on it is something that has stuck with me and feels fitting to end this letter with. 

It says, “Those dear to us live on with the reflection of their love upon our lives.”

Zeyde, you may no longer physically be here with us but your influence and spirit will live on in all of our minds, our hearts and our souls. 

Thank you for the honor of being your grandson. 



One Year Left to Live

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You’re at a routine doctor’s visit. The doctor brings you into his office where he sit’s you down and begins to read you the results on your X-ray that you recently had done.

Very bluntly, he tells you that you have some rare form of a disease you’ve never heard of before and cannot even pronounce. You quickly go into a state of shock and total disbelief, no longer listening to what the doctor is rambling on about.

As you go in and out of this unconscious like state, you hear him say “you have roughly one year left to live”.

You leave and walk out of the office building and into your car.

Sitting there, you begin to think of how little time you have left. How many things there are to be done that you simply will not be able to do. A future that you were so sure of that you no longer have.

Besides the turmoil going on within your stomach, you suddenly feel tranquil and complete clarity in your mind. Your brain is providing you with a clearly obvious sense of purpose and direction, and for the first time in your life, during this rare heightened state of total awareness, you choose to go with it.

Let’s pretend that the scenario above really happened to you, TODAY.

Ask yourself this question…

“If I had one year left to live, what would I do?”

So you head home and you take out a piece of paper and a pencil and begin to write out your list of what you absolutely must do before it’s too late.

-Quit my job and tell my boss to suck it
-Tell my family/friends that I love them, maybe even go and give them a hug right now if they live close
-Book a flight (or flights) to a few different places that I’ve always wanted to visit, including a few different excursions, retreats, etc that have been on the top of my bucket list
-Max out my credit cards to pay for the above, maybe even open up a few more bank accounts as well
-Spend some time with people who are going through a similar disease as mine
-Buy or lease my favorite car
-Start a business that I’ve always wanted to, maybe a non profit
-etc, etc.

Now let’s say immediately after you wrote down your list of must do’s, this newfound motivation was bountiful enough to push you to actually commit to all of them. Regardless of how uncomfortable some of them made you feel, and most likely why you never did them to this point in your life, you accepted and even encouraged with open arms this sense of discomfort and “stepping into the unknown”.

Fast forward 12 months later.

You’ve transformed, transcended and have turned into a completely new person.

You took a leap of faith and forced yourself to do things that a year and a day prior you never imagined being capable of doing.

You’ve raised your levels of awareness and have learned to recognize and follow the messages and signals that your body and subconscious have shared with you.

You’ve discovered how many limited beliefs you had about yourself and life in general that were holding you back, and how much easier it was then anticipated to dismantle them and grow new and more powerful and positive beliefs.

You’ve realized the true value of time, how it’s the most precious resource that we have on this planet, and spent each and every waking moment of the past 365 days completely living in the present.

You’ve explored new cultures on the totally opposite side of the world.

You’ve expressed your gratitude and unconditional love for your family and friends.

Even though you quit your job and had barely any savings to your name, you’ve become extremely resourceful and have taken every obstacle standing in your way head on and plowed through them.

You’ve gotten a brief taste of living life on your own terms, and the extraordinary feeling of positive momentum, freedom and empowerment that comes along with it, and you’ve become absolutely addicted to it.

You’ve become a success. You’ve done and experienced something that 99.99% of all human beings NEVER get the chance to or take the chance to do. And that’s to live.

Rewinding back to that day when you were sitting in your car minutes after being delivered literally the worst news of your life, instead of letting death consume you, you made a stern decision to maximize the time you had remaining.

While the bad news is what pushed you over the edge, it was still YOU who put together your bucket list and YOU who committed to achieving them.

Now come back to the present, and imagine that at your most recent doctor’s check up he tells you that you no longer have the disease…it just magically went away.

With the experiences and positive mindset that you now possess within, and after already facing death head on and giving him the finger, do you really think all of your prior fears, doubts, limited beliefs and concerns can prevent you from continuing to live a life that you choose to live? A life of freedom?

None of us truly know when our time will come to leave this world. With only this life to live, we must stop playing it safe, seeking comfort and running away from our fears.

When we learn to push ourselves past our comfort zone, we become who we deep down have always wanted to and were meant to be.

There’s no better time than the present to take control of the steering wheel and navigate ourselves towards living the life we’ve always dreamed of living.

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde

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Zero BS on taking Control of your Life. No spam.