Parenting Blog / Storied Don't End

Eulogy for Greg in an Amsterdam Airport Hotel Lobby

Greg and I at a 76ers game

Ideally, I wouldn’t have given my speech, his eulogy, from an Amsterdam Airport hotel lobby, its library to be specific, which was just enough out of earshot of the check-in desk’s music bed that the 200+ guests gathered in the backyard could hear my words, tears, snot, and sadness through the phone line and through the microphone at about 10:45pm my time. But then again, ideally my brother Greg wouldn’t be dead. He wouldn’t have developed a tumor in his brain, and then another. He wouldn’t have had to dance with insurance companies, fight for care that may have saved him. Ideally, he’d be one loss into a new fantasy football season right now, listening to the new Dawes record right now, watching his sons build an online LEGO business right now, see his daughter continue to soar in grad school and in life right now, and still be, right now, the fantastic husband he was to his wife.

After my sister-in-law, niece, and our older brother spoke, each beautifully, it was my turn. Below is, more or less, what I said, after prefacing it all by saying that because I am 11 years his junior and because I don’t drink alcohol, I had a very different kind of relationship with Greg than my brother Mike (1 year his senior) had. Different, but wonderful as well.

Greg was as great a brother as he was a dad, husband, son, friend, mentor, neighbor, and member of the community. And he was fucking awesome in all of those roles.


There’s nothing I can say, nothing I can tell you all that you don’t already know about my brother Greg. For anyone who was lucky enough to spend just a single afternoon with him would learn quickly what a sweet, funny, caring, warm, genuine guy he was.

When I think of him, I’m flooded with micro stories and tiny moments. A life well lived will be full of those. There are a dozen fantasy football drafts with him, including one where another guy just kept shouting “Antwan Randall El!” over and over again, it was hilarious and absurd and something we would casually reference repeatedly for years. Same goes for that morning in a diner when a dude at the counter randomly screamed, “shirts off!” and them performed his exaltation. Oh god, and the countless days in our mom and dad’s backyard pool talking about fantasy football strategy, doing mock drafts, talking about future plans, listening to music, and laughing. So much laughing.

Greg and I loved to make fun of corporate lingo, joking about keeping each other in the loop, and touching base after circling back. When I think of Greg I think of Swiss cheese, potato chips, and one particular tub of French onion dip that I should not have dipped into. I think of going to concerts together, of that last jar of mustard from Europe I never could find for him, of the way his eyes would light up at the sight of mom’s chocolate chip and her jelly cookies, of the simply brilliant, calm and sensible advice he gave me on the frantic day I brought home my first born child. Julie wouldn’t go to sleep and then she did, and it seems that she was asleep too long when I called Greg and asked what I should do. He said, calmly and sensibly as was his way, and this is the best advice for any new parent, “Never wake a sleeping baby.”

His life was filled with so many wonderful, weird, funny, touching, loving stories. I know we each carry some shared ones with us today, and while he was cruelly taken from us decades before his time, his stories never have to end. They can go on and on, with each of us remembering what he taught us at home, on the basketball court or ball field, swimming hall or backyard swimming pool, on the phone, in the call on a road trip, or when and wherever we had the pleasure of hanging out with Greg.

Let’s make a promise, right now today, to ourselves and to Greg, to always circle back with him.

I love you, brother. Thank you for everything.

The 3 of us at Greg’s daughter’s college graduation party in Tampa, FL



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