November 8, 2011

Irish Patriarch

Today I got a call on my way to work with horrible news. My grandfather passed away this morning. In true George Tuohy Sr. fashion, he died without suffering. He lived until his last day with the appearance of being tough and gruff and in control (though we all knew his heart was weak and he was not as strong as he always said he was). He always told us he wanted to "just die one morning" and he did. Sadly, my grandma, who he has been faithfully married to for many years, was not ready for this. I've been married a little over a year. They were together 60 something. Heartbreak is not even a word that can encompass what that must feel like.

I received phone calls, emails, and texts today as people found out about his passing. Words such as "character" "hilarious" "big smile" "greatest guy" were used again and again. Friends who I have only known for 5 years were able to talk about memories of my grandpa. Because, his personality was big. If he met you once, he knew you for life. He remembered your face (and maybe your name, maybe not as he got older) and the anecdote you talked about the last time he saw you.

He was a stoic man in some ways. And serious. And stood by his beliefs. Irish Catholic is an understatement. "Old School" best describes him. Came home from work for lunch until the day he retired. Soup and a sandwich daily. He called me "Meggy" and treated me like I was still the baby in the family, even as a full grown adult. He was inappropriate and politically incorrect. He had no filter. But he was in his late eighties, and even on the days when he made my bleeding heart liberal skin crawl with his comments, my adoration for him always won me over.

There are too many memories in my mind that cannot be transcribed. But, the point of them all is that he made us laugh. Whether talking about the Joe Be Doe under the bridge on our hikes, or making up catchphrases that made no sense, such as, "You're talking like a man with a paper ass", we rolled on the floor laughing hysterically. He tried to pick up a waitress at a restaurant during my college graduation for my brother. He yelled out the car window to people. He asked for extra potatoes at our wedding.

He was a true man of tradition. He and my dad began our Mt. Washington family hikes years ago.  And grandpa insisted we go back every year, and that someone pick him up along the way. And at 70 years old, he toasted to his health at the summit. My brother can tell much better stories about our days as kids and teens in New Hampshire with my grandpa. There was never a dull moment.

Most recently, I saw grandpa at the end of August. A little over two months ago. And I would have loved to see him more frequently, but the distance between us sometimes got in the way. No regrest though, I had so many good times with him over the years. We told him we were expecting Baby Walls during our last visit. And while I am horribly saddened he won't get to meet this little one, I know that he will be watching over us. I'll hold him in my memory as he was in this picture. Smiling, loving, and with a zest for life, even in his old age.

And in the words of my grandpa, every single time we said goodbye...

May the Road rise up to meet you,
May the wind always be at your back,
Until we meet again,
May the good lord hold you in the palm of his hand.


  1. So sorry for your loss, 2E. Thinking of you.

  2. PS - It's Cuomo... I don't know why this comes up with my middle name? XO.


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