This has been one of the hardest weeks of my life. My grandfather passed away on July 20th, 2020. I was tasked with writing and saying the eulogy. This is for you grandpa, I love you endlessly. Here it is.
Hello. Good afternoon and thank you for coming. For those of you who don't know me, my name is Alleyah and I'll be speaking about my grandfather. We are gathered here today to celebrate his life. Some of you may know him as Michael Persaud, but to me, he was just grandpa. Before I begin, I would like to put out a quick disclaimer: This is not my eulogy. I had the privilege of knowing my grandfather for 18, almost 19 years. He lived a vibrant, rich, and full life and it's been my honor to know him for just a short while. I'll talk about his childhood, his marriage to my grandmother, and from all the times before I knew him. So, I'll repeat again, this is not my eulogy, rather it's our eulogy. It's a collection of our experiences, opinions, and memories of what made grandpa grandpa. In short, I'm just the messenger. There are countless other people who can describe his earlier life better than I can, or have known him for a much longer time. I invite you all to share those stories later on. Grandpa is survived by his wife and my grandma Teresa Persaud, and his 5 children: Juliana, Andrew, Michael, Elizabeth, and Deborah, my mom; as well as 7 grandchildren: Melanie, Ariel, Christopher, Omar, Angelina, Usha, and myself. Okay, let's begin.
He was born on September 28th, 1934 and from the stories I've been told about his childhood, he sounded amazing. I remember when he told me about all the times he cut school to do other things. He would always end with the same lesson: I was to stay in school and get my education, no matter what. I guess he wanted us to learn from his experiences. More importantly, all the stories I've heard about his early years centered around the fact that he was popular with the ladies and had a lot of friends. He was young and handsome and it seemed like the world was his for the taking. And then one December, his father passed away, and from what I've been told, this changed his personality and outlook on life. No more girlfriends, no more tearing up the town, it was time to settle down.
So cue the wedding bells, ladies and gentlemen, this is when grandpa met my grandma. This wasn't your typical arranged marriage when they got married in January 1961. I could see the love between them. I'm told that he first fell in love with her luscious and beautiful long hair, and I'm sure that those of you who were there will remember. They enjoyed over 60 beautiful years of marriage together, filled with laughter, some tears, and a bright & beautiful love. He always wanted to know where Grandma was, and he never wanted her out of his sight. Grandma always called him King Arthur because he was the king of his castle, or the house on 184th place. They even had their special song, "Save the Last Dance For Me" by the Drifters. Whenever it came on, grandpa would find grandma, no matter where she was, and dance. So, all this means that although he had many girlfriends in the past, grandma was the love of his life.
And with any marriage, comes children. 5 in total. My Aunty Junie, Uncle Andrew, Uncle Michael, Aunty Lizzy, and Debbie, my mom. He wanted them all to be successful, to take pride in their work, and to be good and kind people. He fostered independence and accountability, if you had a flat tire, it was yours to fix, like when Uncle Andrew and Uncle Michael got stranded in Wales and had to take the bus back home. One of the things they remember were Sunday mornings, after church, where they would all pile into the car and go for a long Sunday drive. The family continued their journey when they emigrated from Guyana to New York on September 28th, 1980, his birthday. And what a beautiful birthday present. His wisdom and strength played a role in his children's successful careers, marriages, and kids.
So, this is where I come into the equation. I'm one of his 7 grandchildren, I'm the 3rd oldest, and I'd like to think I was his favorite. Or at least one of them. He always made sure to take care of us and make sure we felt like we were at home. The green and white house on 184th place was home and we spent countless hours there for BBQs, dinners, and parties.
And speaking of parties, grandpa was the life of the party, he was always dancing, and if he couldn't dance, he would sing. He was expressive and emotional, I'm sure many of you will agree. When it was time to sing Happy Birthday, for anyone, he was the first person crying, congratulating, and reminiscing about all the previous birthdays and how we had gotten so big.
Grandpa wanted to see us do well. He would always ask me how tennis was, how many matches I've won, or if I was going to be the next Serena Williams. His generosity was also unmatched, not a visit would go by when he told me that he's going to buy me a car.
But material things aside, the conversations we had about the future and the wisdom he imparted is something I will take with me for the rest of my life. Perhaps it's something else for all of you. His heartfelt kindness, his zest for life, his sass, or the strength he imparted are things I'm sure will live on in all of us today. He lived a full life and I'm sure each and every one of you has their own different and beautiful memories of him. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Our God, I wish to remember grandpa as the wonderful man he was. And if you're listening, because I know you are, I will always miss you. But, I'll cherish the memories we made together and I will always think of you with a smile. Rest in perfect peace Grandpa, I love you.