I made an error in the previous post. I would like to correct the following:
Grandpa Ralph had 42 years of sobriety, not 32, as I had written. His 42nd anniversary is at the end of this month.
The memorial service yesterday was really nice, despite the fact that OC, OF and I happened to sit next to the Two Most Annoying People Ever to Sit By At a Memorial Service. These two women were awful. The first woman talked in a LOUD voice during the opening music. They talked a little bit about Ralph, but then about their lives in a timbre way above everyone else, which were whispering or talking in hushed voices. Then, while the memorial was happening, the other woman's cell phone rang. Four. Times. She dug in her purse, rattling keys and crinkly papers until the fucking cell phone went to voicemail, and did that jingly voicemail sound. I wanted to smack the two of them.
There were lots of people there, and there was a time for people to tell their personal stories about Ralph. It cannot be said enough: the man touched hundreds of people's lives in a meaningful way. Men, women, children, all were crying their eyes out and talking from their hearts about how Ralph changed their life. One person said that he saved their life. He had that way about him, of listening and understanding, that made you feel like someone cared.
I've learned a lot from him about reaching out, and how to be of service to other people. Of not just feeling care and concern for another, but taking the step to demonstrate it. It doesn't take much, really, to reach out and be there for another person. It's just so easy not to reach out, so easy to just curl up at home into my own life, troubles, and little details. It makes me think about what I was taught about life by having known him. I want to make that contact count and use it in my own life, with my own friends and people I meet.
I'm glad I knew Ralph. He is missed.