I can't believe that you're no longer with us. Everything happened so fast. If I'm being completely honest, it still hasn't sunk in yet. I've had my moments of intense grief, but I don't think they will ever go away. I can confidently say that you are both the rock and heart of our family. Without you and your strong belief in the importance of family, we wouldn't be the same. We probably wouldn't be nearly as close as we are if you hadn't instilled those values in us.
I know for a fact that you lived an extraordinary life. If I can live a life half as great as yours, I would be thrilled. You got to experience so many incredible things, while also experiencing intense hardships that made you into the man we all knew. There's a reason that everyone you came in contact with immediately liked you. You emitted the most calming energy that I've ever experienced. When I would give you a hug and catch a whiff of your cologne, I always knew everything would be okay.
Your stories from different times in your life always fascinated me. I'll never forget hearing about your experiences. From training to fight with the resistance during World War II in Greece, to playing Premier League Soccer in England for Sunderland, to immigrating to the United States with only a small amount of money in your pocket, attending college, and finally having an extremely successful and influential career with American Airlines - you did it all.
One thing I know for sure is that I would do anything to hear one of your stories again.
Not only were you extremely successful, but you were a true gentleman. Your kindness and care for others never ceased to amaze me. I'm confident that you made a good impression on everyone you came across in your life. Your love for Christ and your faith were apparent in everything you did.
One of the biggest things that always stood out to me was how you did everything with care, no matter how mundane the task was. Whether you were driving, eating, or simply preparing the dog and cat food, you saw the joy in everything you did. I think that we all can learn from that. Today, we all get inconvenienced too easily. If we all learned to see the beauty in every little thing we did, we'd all be much happier.
Your sense of humor was another great trademark of your personality. We could always count on you for a witty remark that would make everyone giggle. I sometimes think about jokes you said a few years ago and still laugh to myself. Part of me thinks that is your way of continuing to make me smile. After all, you'd always be the one to tell me to smile more.
I'm so blessed that I was able to spend time with you while you were in the hospital. As I cried and prayed while sitting next to you, I would find myself wondering if you heard me or even knew I was there. However, my questions were quickly answered when you would squeeze my hand as I held yours. I find comfort in knowing that you knew you weren't alone.
As the days have gone by, I've realized how big of an impact you had on my life. I miss your hugs. I miss the smell of your cologne. I miss your witty remarks. I miss your voice. I miss everything. I know you're doing great up there, though. You're having a great reunion with you parents, brother, and other friends and family. I can't wait to see you again. I'm going to do my best to make you proud.