Grandpa Prayer

Grandpa Prayer

tributes | family | love | honor | to mom | to dad | siblings | cousins | aunts | uncles | grandparents | memorial | funeral | speeches | eulogy | dies | letters | sad | death | thoughts | children | kids

Once in a while, or should I say, as often as possible, I like to remember those who have gone before us. The personal blessing of this blog I’ve created is that I have a record of the important things in my life, all the while, hopefully sharing some things that can help others and relate to their lives as well. We’re never alone. Sometimes we feel alone, but someone’s always going through something similar and whether they are a friend or family member – or a stranger – we can certainly try to take comfort in the embrace of someone who is experiencing what you are.

On April 11, 2014, my mother and our dear extended family lost its patriarch, Francis J. O’Connor, of Sarasota, Florida. My mother was the eldest daughter of nine kids and always exemplified leadership in the family. Myself, as the eldest of four, and the second oldest of 31 grandchildren, often had occasion to step into a leadership role as well. I had the absolute pleasure of leading our family in prayer as we gathered in the funeral home before moving to the church for Grandpa’s funeral. I’ll share with you my dedication and prayer, and hope that it inspires you if ever put into a similar position:

Grandpa had a fantastic, warm, jovial smile, didn’t he?!  Imagine that your smile was so revered that every time someone who knew you, and loved you, smiled at someone else, they would think of you. What an incredible legacy to leave. I’m going to think of Grandpa when I share my smile, and the joy he exuded will live on because of it. Let’s all honor him by smiling more. Smile at each other, smile when you talk to God, and most importantly, smile at a stranger every day because you might be the only one who made the effort to do so. You’ll make someone’s day. 

Lord, thank you for this cherished time together with family. Help us to see the very best in everyone and to live by your example of peace. As your servant Fran did, help us to lead enthusiastically, rejoice with humility and to serve with compassion. And for all of those who are in need of your strength on this day, we pray that you will offer your healing hands and loving heart. Bless our precious time together, comfort us in our sorrow, lead us to greener pastures, and give us the conviction to do your goodwill, as Grandpa did. Amen.

To paraphrase some of his obituary, “Fran took great joy in his role of loving grandfather to 31 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. Fran was a true family man who drew much satisfaction from his ‘one, big, happy family.’


Fran was inquisitive by nature and strongly supported education. After completing high school, he enlisted in the Navy, serving during WWII. He also continued his education, studying mathematics and law, eventually becoming a member of the Ohio State Bar Association.

Fran worked his entire professional career for the Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, a national grocery store chain. He was the Director of Budgets and Controls, when he retired in 1987.

Fran loved the water. He enjoyed swimming in pools, lakes and oceans. He also enjoyed tennis and golf, especially in his retirement years at Palm Aire Country Club. He made lots of good friends there and at his church, Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, where he was a founding member of the Knights of Columbus.”


I loved my Grandpa dearly. I had the utmost respect for what he accomplished in his life. He worked for the same company his whole life, affording his wife to be home with NINE children, all of whom are incredible, loving, compassionate people. He and my Grandma were best friends, always by each others’ side in everything they did, until the very end. His smile was infectious and his heart bigger than you can imagine one man’s chest could hold.

Waiting for Noah

Waiting for Noah

romance | dating | love quotes | relationships | intimacy | sex | kissing | communication | togetherness | compromise | marriage | couples | passion | chemistry | wedding

For most of my life, even as young as about second grade, I envisioned my life with a big…bigger than normal…family of my own. My mother had four brothers and four sisters and my dad had two of each. I was the first of four. So, I was always accustomed to lots of kids and loved being around the little ones. Naturally, I always saw myself as a family man and had designs on having a large family of my own. But, of course, life takes different turns, doesn’t it? Not having gone to college right after high school, I felt like I missed out on finding a soul mate early. I have no regrets, of course, because the love I did find eventually was completely meant for me and a gift from God. But, we were both a little older by the time it was time to have kids. Anyway, that’s just some background. When we were finally pregnant, I was ecstatic! It was certainly a lifelong dream come true to have the anticipation of my very own flesh and blood reincarnated into my very own ‘mini-me’…I couldn’t wait! Here’s a poem I wrote for Noah, about a month before he was born:

Daddy’s waiting patiently

I can’t wait for you to see

All the things your mommy and me

Will show you when you come to be.

Things like hope and faith and love

All the blessings from above

So many friends you have to meet

Our love for you no one can beat.

Come on, my son, open your eyes

To a world of vast, amazing size

There’s so much to see and do

We can’t wait to share with you!

A few days later, he was here! After about 12 hours of labor, I got to witness one of the great miracles that God shares with us. For nine months, he was but a silent blob, poking around in there, peaceful as can be. When he finally came out, screaming immediately and moving around like crazy it was such a sight to behold. I couldn’t believe how much energy he had right from the start…we knew we were in for quite a life change.


I remember my father telling me the story of my birth. I was his first born and he too described the experience as a pure miracle. On his way home from the hospital, after my mom gave birth to me, he stopped at church and just sat and prayed and prayed in silence, in total and complete awe of what he had just witnessed. It truly is a miracle for parents to behold and treasure. I pray that every parent feels the presence of God and the absolute astonishment that goes along with witnessing a new life coming into the world.


Four years later, Noah is practically a young man. Isn’t that just an unbeatable smile? Adept at conversation, creative, musical and compassionate, he is in love with his baby brother Elliott. We are so blessed. They are the light of my life. Cherish every minute you have with your kids. That doesn’t mean that every moment is going to be wonderful, there are some frustrating, loud – how’d I get myself into this? – moments. But, whenever you can turn those hiccups into a smile or a hug or a victory of any kind, appreciate that there was a challenge presented to you that you could meet, and carry on with great hope for the next amazing moment. They are around each and every corner, waiting for your embrace!

Please post a comment about the first time you laid eyes on your precious child. Share the magic with us and let us know how it made you feel and how it changed your life. 

Grandpa Prayer

We’re in this together…

We’re in this together…

Introduction | Family | Wife | Kids | Motivation | Vision | Mission | Home | Personal | Icebreaker | Myself

The wedding song I share with my wife, Sybil, is “God Bless the Broken Road” by Rascal Flatts. It is certainly a metaphor for my life…our life. And I’m sure many of yours. You have an idea about how things are going to take shape when you’re in high school, and soon enough, the paths you take are like nothing you’d ever imagined happening the way you expected.

Mine, I’m quite certain, is a journey not unlike millions of others. I’m not special. I’m not a pastor, or a successful businessperson, a high-powered executive or some kind of super dad or super husband. I’m no expert on anything, but I’d like to think I have something to offer.

We all have something to offer. We all learn valuable lessons around every corner of our lives. Most of us take them in stride and appreciate their value, hoping that when the same situation makes its way around again, we are better equipped to handle it the second time around. It’s called learning and growing.

Again, I don’t pretend to contend that my learning is very much different from yours and certainly no more profound, but since I enjoy writing and sharing with others, I’ve decided to document some of my life’s struggles and triumphs with the mere hope of inspiring others who may face some the same challenges and grapple with similar reflections on life.

I intend to share a lot of life experiences that you may find unique and interesting. My surgeries, my battles with depression, my return to Faith, and a number of just fun short essays meant to make you smile. I hope that some of you can benefit from its posts. I have written many of them already, but will release them gradually, a couple each week. Please feel free to provide some feedback. I value your opinions. Thank you!

See other posts about my family:


My Marriage Proposal…doin’ it right!

Grandpa Prayer

Waiting for Noah

About Me