For those of you who know Keith and I personally, you know that we come from a tight-knit family who has always been extremely supportive of our work. Recently, one of our greatest supporters has passed away.
Our Grandmother, better known as Nani died in her home last Friday surrounded by loved ones after a battle with cancer. She will be dearly missed, but her life lessons will stay with us forever. She was instrumental in our development as a band as she would encourage us to practice and perform at her home from a very young age, even when our "music" sounded more like nails across a chalk board than rock & roll.
Thanks for everything Nani,
Love Ross & Keith.
Here is the eulogy I wrote/read at her funeral (click "read more"):
I'd like to say a few words today about how much of a positive influence my grandmother, better known as 'Nani' was on our lives; what she has taught us both directly and indirectly.
It always amazed me that a woman who lived through so much could maintain an unwavering positive outlook on the world. A woman who was born only 6 years after women gained the right to vote. A woman who lived through the great depression, world war II, and the civil rights movement; she never had a shred of prejudice or hate in her body.
After battling cancer herself several times, and taking care of my grandfather in his final days. Not once did she ever ask, "Why?" Why do these things happen to me? or "Why do I need to deal with this"?
She was the ultimate example of living in the moment. She knew you couldn't change the past and that there was no point to worrying about things you couldn't control.
Even in her final days when asked if she ever got even a little scared about her failing health. Her response was "oh no, I spend more time worrying about what I'm going to make for dinner than worrying about what's coming next for me"
From my early days as a child, I knew there was something special about Nani. She was more like superwoman than a grandmother in my eyes. Not only would she make dinner for herself & my grandfather, she would send some meatballs up through the backyard to my family, down the street to Worcester to my Aunt Mary's, freeze some for the next time Billy comes home from the Cape and save the left overs to make soup the next day. Wash, rinse, repeat. Dinner for 20 was the norm for nani.
What was even more impressive was that she did this all while her rambunctious grandchildren were rummaging about her house. A home that she took the upmost pride in. Her home was immaculate. She maintained it with the precision of a surgeon; not because she had to, but because she wanted to. Because of pride.
But, she didn't forbid the grandchildren to use the house, she encouraged it. As a kid, myself and the other grandchildren turned her house into a game room, a haunted house, a fashion show, a movie set, a baseball card shop, a casino, a post office, a concert hall... the list goes on and on but the one thing that was consistent.... We NEVER cleaned up. Instead of spending her time telling us to clean up, or not make the mess in the first place. She encouraged us to be individuals, to follow our passions; she inspired our creativity rather than stifling it.
Those were hands down the most fun moments of my childhood. And it wasn't until recently I realized that she never bought us a single toy. She gave us what was invaluable; her time and undivided love. Looking back now, it was only fitting that a place that housed so much creativity, love, and inspiration, was cared for by her, as if it was a castle.
She never raised her voice once. Even on the hot summer day when she took a break from house work to do some gardening outside, and my cousin Keith and I thought it would be funny to lock her out of the house while we ran a muck inside, when she finally gained entry, all she said to us, preceded with her signature giggle, was "OK boys, Nani needs to make dinner now"
The beautiful thing about today is that even after Nani is gone, we have the ability to carry on her love, her honesty and her pride, in our own lives. So today I encourage you to let Nani inspire you one more time.
The next time your over-caffeniated, sugar-crazed children or grandchildren are running a muck in your house, or even when you're dealing with that intolerable person at work. When you're asking your self "Why?" "Why do I need to deal with this?". Instead, Say "Thank You". "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a bright spot in this person's life." "Thank you for letting me be a positive influence on this person". Because those people may not have had a Nani to care for them and watch after them. So you can take joy in being just one more constructive experience in that person's life.
So today I stand before you to say the 2 words that my grandmother never asked, or expected to hear once in her life... Thank You.