Grandma and Grandpa, thank you for always being around for me. I enjoyed every minute we got to spend together! I sure wish Steph and Zach could have met you guys, but I know that they will someday. I was so happy every time I saw you. I was a lot nicer to you guys than I was to Grandma Landis. I say this because I know you are all hanging out together now. You were probably surprised when you read the letter I wrote to her a little over a month ago, because you always looked at me as the perfect grandson.
I’ll always remember your house. It was like an adventure every time I came over. Each visit there you would find something new to show me. We could explore for hours and not see all the little treasures you had inside. I used to sit on the couch and just stare at all the books on the shelves and the neat items you had displayed everywhere. As I sat there, you would be telling me a story about a relative you recently spoke to, or an event that shaped your life. It may not have seemed like it at the time, but those stories did sink in, and they helped make me the person I am today.
Grandma, you made me feel so special! I learned so much about family strength and values from you. I felt lucky to be your grandson. You never had much, but you tried to show me that wasn’t what was important. I wish I would have learned that lesson sooner. I’ll never forget how much you loved taking pictures with that old instant camera you had. I know that is where Wendy gets her love of the camera from. You were so proud of your family, and you showed those pictures to everyone. I think about the times we used to come visit you when you worked at Diamonds. I may not have appreciated the gifts you used to get me from there, but you should know I certainly do now. I could sure use some of the hundred of pairs of socks you gave me; I can never seem to find a matching pair. haha
I know what you and Grandpa went through just to get out here to Arizona. I know how hard times were for you back when my dad was a kid. I want to thank you for that. If you could endure hardships like you went through and still show the genuine happiness and love for life you had, I can sure handle some of the tough times I experience. I felt like one in a million every time you would introduce me as your only grandson. You bragged about how I would be able to carry on the Bruno name. You were so kind and loving, and I could not have asked for a better grandma. I’ll never forget how much you loved me.
When you died, none of us Bruno men were the same. I know grandpa missed you terribly, and I don’t think he ever really knew what to do without you. We Bruno men are strong, but we know it’s the Bruno women who hold it all together. I think you can see that is true by the wonderful women your son and I both married.
Grandpa I will always remember the hugs! Your whiskers would always rub against my face. I must have hugged you a lot, because I can still feel it when I think about you. There are things I can’t believe I remember sometimes. For instance I can still picture those white tank top undershirts you used to wear. I remember the day it hit me that the three inches of back and shoulder hair exposed by that tank top might be passed down to be me. (gotta love those Sicilians!) haha
You were a great man! You tried to teach me many lessons about patience and perseverance; it just didn’t fully sink in for me until now. Thanks for making my dad the person he is today. I know a lot of your life experiences and wisdom were passed down to him so he could share them with me. I am also sharing what you taught us with my son. I think you would be proud of what I am trying to do.
The day of your funeral I went into that viewing room by myself to see you for the last time. Your arms were folded across your chest as you laid there. As I started to talk to you, your arms unfolded in front of me. I turned pale. I remember my mom asking me if I was ok when I left that room; she could tell I was shaken. I think about that moment all the time. It was as if you were trying to show me you heard everything I said. Maybe it was just something that naturally can happen, but I will never see it that way. You always went out of your way to acknowledge me when you were alive, why would it have been any different then?
Three generations of Bruno boys went out to see you both at your final resting place a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful day, and one I won’t soon forget. You would have been so happy just to see your son, grandson, and great grandson spending time together. That is what you two were all about. We left some flowers for you grandma, and grandpa got the newspaper. It probably only took him a few minutes to finish the crossword puzzle inside.
I am sure you already know that I have recently connected with your nephew Phil. Also within days of visiting you I connected with your niece Dee and her amazing daughter Kristin. I also recently became friends with Katherine on Facebook. I know you had a part in that. Family was so important to you, and I always remember how well you stayed connected with everyone. I will do my best to represent you and our family. Grandma and grandpa, I love you guys! I’ll see you when my time is up here. I am grateful for the massive amount of love you always gave me. I am honored to have your blood running through my veins.
Your grandson Billy