My dad was a hard man.
Hard around the edges, hard to relate to, hard to understand.
He was also oddly soft.
Soft in the middle, soft in handling his grandbabies, and soft to their discipline.
My dad was a worker – more than that, he was a hard worker.
He was determined.
He had goals but mostly, he loved his work and he loved to work.
He sacrificed his body for his work and he sacrificed his time.
He put work first for so many reasons but ultimately, it was because if he gave his word, he always kept it.
My dad was also someone that loved a good party.
Loved to unwind.
Loved to be together, make a toast, loved a glass of wine, and throw a bar-b-q.
He lived for a summer boat ride on Lake George or a night out at a good restaurant.
My dad had a difficult life at times.
And then there were times he made it more difficult than it needed to be.
He also had a very big life and he lived a lot of life in his 77 years, actually, more than most.
My dad could be scary.
And there were times he confused fear for respect.
And there were times he confused fear for protection.
But there was never a time he would not protect.
He saw that as his role, the protector of the family.
My dad was a fighter.
He did not know how or when to put his fighting gloves down.
But it was that fight that defined him and in the end, he fought so hard for life.
He fought to stay with us because fighting is all he knew and there are times fight and drive carry you far.
My dad had a way.
From how to set a table to how to live your life, there was only one way.
Frank’s way or don’t even bother.
He was described as a man with a booming personality.
He was described as larger than life.
He was described as a force and tough and loud.
My dad was never afraid to speak his mind but was effortlessly charismatic.
He did not always say I love you but was loved and knew love.
He was often wrong but always thought he was right.
My husband can attest to how well he passed this trait on to me and my sister.
To my mother that spent 52 years with him, bless you.
Bless your strength.
Thank you for taking such good care of him.
His last words to my husband were “she’s a good woman, my wife”.
His last act of love and protection was to make sure you didn’t see him pass.
To his grandchildren, he learned true love when he met you.
He learned how to say I love you out loud.
Adrian, you were his first and the one that made him a Nonno. Watching you grow into who you are was his dream come true. Laughing with you was what brought him to life. Saying whatever you have on your mind, that’s your Nonno.
Luca, you were the one that kept him on his toes. Always jumping from place to place as a kid. You were the one that made him realize what it must have been like to raise him. Your love of soccer, that’s your Nonno.
Anna, you were his one and only. He called you his princess and queen. He spent almost every day of your first few weeks holding you…his little granddaughter. Your stubborn grit, that’s your Nonno.
Cole, you made his heart squishy. You were his little sidekick. The one that would run into his arms, knock him over with a hug. The one that made him realize how beautiful a heart that full can be. Your way of flirting without even realizing it, that’s your Nonno.
There was a brief moment of clarity when my dad accepted his fate.
No tears, no rage, no fear, but acceptance. He looked at me with peaceful eyes and said “well Bella, this is where our story ends”.
And it wouldn’t be us if I didn’t point out to you how wrong you are Babbo.
Your story began again and again with us and then again with your grandchildren and will continue to evolve.
You live in all of us and we will continue to live your story.
Babbo, you gave us your grit, your stubborn nature, your curls, your work ethic, your love of work, your idea that family has to come first, and your infuriating way of having to always be right.
And yes, Cory wants it really known that you did in fact pass this on to both of your daughters... or as he calls it, “the Ruzza way”.
If there is anyone on this earth that deserves rest and peace, it’s you Franguch.
We hope you find both but we also hope you continue to give them hell.
There are so many things we want to say to you but it all comes down to the two words you’ve always wanted to hear from us, thank you.
Goodbye Babbo and thank you.
What a beautiful, poignant tribute to your dad.
Thank you so much.
So we’ll said. I could hear your voice as I read it.
Love to you and your family.