About a month ago, my grandfather passed away. He was ninety-two and lived a blessed, long life. Leaving behind a wife, three daughters and five granddaughters (and finally one grandson), he was undeniably the patriarch of a family of opinionated women. A world without his booming six-foot-something presence is deeply unfamiliar to all of us.

During his memorial service, one of his longtime family friends (David) said a few words highlighting his memories of life alongside my grandfather. Grandpa was a singer—he was a member of a choir group for years and enjoyed it very much. I can still hear him whistling throughout the house perfectly on pitch.

David told many stories about Grandpa, but he said something in his speech that stuck out to me. He spoke about how Grandpa loved to physically lean into the low notes and roll up on his toes on the high notes. His whole body committed to the song and the moment and the performance. Even in the pictures of his singing days, you can see how animated Grandpa was during his parts. He leaned into the low notes.

That immediately felt profound to me, sitting there in the pew with bunched up Kleenex in my shaky hands. Leaning into the low notes. The low moments. That moment right then, felt very low.

But I leaned in. Felt the feelings. Because I didn’t want to miss it. I didn’t want to miss my sweet grandma taking it all in—the service for the man she’d spent the vast majority of her life with. Didn’t want to miss the friends who showed up in support of my family and me. Didn’t want to miss the honoring of a life of service, devoted to community and family and his country. A life well-lived. A life that will be remembered always by the people who loved him most.


  1. Joyce patterson

    Beautiful. Of course, it caused some tears but they are good tears. His was a life well lived and all you beautiful granddaughters were a source of great pride.

    • Urban Leslie

      My sweet niece! That was so profound and inspiring. U have a unique perspective that shines through your writing. Love you

    • Patricia Melnuk

      Olivia … hello sweet one !!
      Such a powerful tribute. Leaning into all the spaces we experience— so life doesn’t slip by… holding the notes in our moments to the fullest space allowed in each measure . I’m grateful for my time with your family. Love on the memories.


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