No stranger to pain and suffering, he lost his mother when he was just six years old, witnessed a lightning bolt strike and kill his sister-in-law, and found himself carrying the lifeless body of his teenage daughter who had drowned in the nearby river. Scoliosis reduced his vision to a blur, acute asthma made breathing nearly impossible, and excruciating rheumatism in his knee wrapped pain around every step he took. He lived through the terror and uncertainty of both World Wars and the despair of the Depression without ever losing faith or hope. He never showed even a hint of bitterness or resentment. I never heard him complain.
Generous beyond measure, he didn’t need a will because he gave everything while he was still alive. His heart was pure gold and those who knew him were made rich in so many ways. From him we learned to stockpile forgiveness and ditch unkind words. To invest in each other and share our wealth of talent and treasures. He taught us the value of hard work and that goodness is its own reward.
My grandfather was a simple man without a formal education but I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher of what is truly important in life. I learned first-hand the joy that comes from giving of yourself and doing what’s right; from magnifying the good and turning a blind eye to faults and imperfections. Watching him taught me about courage, compassion and humility; invincible strength, unwavering faith, and selfless, unconditional and even romantic love.
His capacity to love is what I cherish most about my grandfather. I remember how he would tell us, sometimes with tears in his eyes, that love was the only thing that mattered. And he was right. The smile he always wore on his face tells it all. Even in his ill health and pain, Salvatore Bruno left this world a very happy man because his heart was filled with love.
I wish everyone in the world could meet my grandpa. If you are among those who have spent time with him, you know what I’m talking about. To all others, I hope that when you see me or visit this blog, you will catch a glimpse of his heart which lives in mine. For as long as I’m walking on the face of this earth, the shadow of grandfather’s love and goodness will be right there beside me. And maybe, just maybe I might end up touching a few lives along the way like he touched mine.
How about you? Who is your hero?Follow @mariiamarino