I never thought the year I turned 40, I would have to eulogize my husband. How do you write a eulogy for someone so young? He was only 42. I tried to remain as authentic as possible. I also had to keep it proper for the public. It was a difficult balance.
I met Gregg in 2002 in college. We were both college students. He was a 5th year, finishing up his k-6 education degree, and I was a junior working on an Art degree. We had a mutual friend in common, Tony. He was my friend from high school and he was on the wrestling team with Gregg. I knew Gregg as Fox. I saw him working out at the rec center and I liked what I saw. I asked Tony to hook me up with him. Gregg was supposed to be a hook-up or at best, a recurring booty call. Our relationship developed fast and was totally unexpected. I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend. I was looking for fun. Within 4 weeks of that first phone call from Gregg we adopted a cat. We thought we were grown, but we weren’t. We were just a couple of early 20-somethings, who ended up growing into adulthood together. We were engaged in six months and married 9 months after that. Our marriage was far from perfect. In fact, we argued so much I was told years ago by a friend we made people uncomfortable. I like to think we were just passionate. We are both stubborn. However, we were able to argue and move past it. We didn’t let our grievances with one another fester. Maybe we didn’t handle it in the best way, but that is besides the point. The point is, we love each other. Through all the crap, we always found a way to make it work. Gregg wasn’t a perfect person. I’d say he was perfectly imperfect. He could be crazy stubborn, and a bit of an ass. I’d tell him he was an asshole, but that he was my asshole. He would dish it out just as much as he would take.
Gregg grew up as the middle son of three boys in upstate NY, in a little nothing of a town in the middle of nowhere. We rode through there this Summer when we were on vacation. He was glad his parents decided to move from there his senior year of high school. According to Gregg, he was his mother’s favorite. And, I can honestly say it isn’t easy being married to the “momma’s boy.” Gregg loved his brothers. His younger brother and he were the closest in age, so they spent the most time together, plus they had wrestling in common.
A lot of Gregg’s outward cockiness came from his years as a wrestler. I have never met a wrestler (at least ones that were any good) that didn’t have a general air of swagger with a touch of conceited-ness about them. He started wrestling when he was nine. He had a lot of years to develop that cockiness by the time I met him. He would tell anyone that would listen that he’d never been pinned or teched in high school or college. There’s only one place he allowed someone to put him on his back, and since there are children present that’s all I’m going to say. Gregg loved wrestling so much that he decided to be a teacher so it would be easier for him to coach. He coached for three seasons but left both coaching and teaching to become a longshoreman.
Gregg was proud of his accomplishments. As a ship-to-shore crane operator it was important to him that he be one of the top crane operators. He loved his job. He said it was like playing a live action video game. He would often come home and tell me about how many moves he did in a two-and-a-half hour run. I’d reply, “oh, yeah hun, that’s awesome.” I didn’t know if it was really awesome, but he really liked encouragement and praise, so I obliged. I know more longshoreman lingo than I’d care to admit.
Gregg was really into staying fit. In fact, while looking for pictures for the slide show I came across a lot of “flexing in the mirror” selfies. Honestly, as his wife, I appreciated that he liked to keep himself up. Plus, I never would have gotten into fitness without him. He was proud of being in his 40s and still looking as good, if not better, than he did in college.
Gregg was an awesome dad. Not perfect, but awesome. He loved being a dad. He thought the whole giving birth process was amazing; which it is. He was the first one to change both our sons’ diapers. He helped with middle of the night feedings, and I didn’t usually have to ask. He just did it. He most recently started helping on Sundays with our son Luke’s gymnastics team. He loved it because it allowed him to coach, again. He was immensely proud of our son Deacon and his talent with art. He loved giving our sons experiences he never had growing up as a child.
Gregg was a huge animal lover, and they loved him. I told him he was like a Disney Princess because of the way animals would flock to him. He fell in love with our bulldog Fiona the instant he met her. As soon as I saw his face, I knew, we were getting a bulldog. We’ve had a lot of dogs and cats over the years; like a ridiculous amount.
Gregg loved motorcycles. I hated them with a fiery passion. I refused to ever ride on the back. Some people would look at me like I was crazy when I’d tell them, “I refuse to ride on that thing.” This is the one time in my life I hate being right. And, that’s all I am going to say about that.
Gregg was an extrovert. He would talk to anybody. He is the one that would get to know our neighbors. While his extroversion would drive me crazy; I’m an introvert, it would come in handy for when we would hang out with my friends. I didn’t have to worry that he would feel awkward or left out. If he didn’t know anyone, he’d make a friend by the time we left.
Yes, I wrote improvise at the bottom. I thought I may want to add additional thoughts I any occurred on the spot. I don’t remember if I did or not. I don’t remember much about our wedding or his memorial service. Big moments with big memory gaps. One filled with joy, the other filled with agonizing grief.
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