Friday, August 23, 2013


So I hope you know by now that Dédi means great-grandfather in Hungarian.  You have one picture of your great grandpa, Daddy's grandpa, in your room, although it never hurts to have more:
This is you with him on Thanksgiving, 2012, when you were still so little!  You've gained so much from him:  wonderful stories of his military service and his relationship with the love of his life, Jean (whose necklace you now have), an interest in how things work, and a love of books (you've had many people to inherit this from!).

Thankfully, you get to see him from time to time, though not as often as we would like.  Obviously, you have had four great-grandfathers, and today I'd like to tell you a bit about my very special grandpa, Dédi.

When your dad and I met, one of the first things we bonded over was the special relationship we both have (and had) with our grandfathers.  My grandfather, my mother's father, meant more to me than I can even express.  He was so full of love for everyone, as I think you can see from this, one of my last pictures of us:

When I was only eight years old, my grandfather started to teach me to play violin.  He was good--really good--and had played in orchestras, but one of his real interests was Hungarian folk music, so I learned a lot of folk tunes.  If you listen to the fiddle parts (here played by the flute) in Hungarian folk tunes, you'll hear that they are fast-paced, require dexterity, and, most of all, just need a lot of heart:

Tonight, I had my first experience trying to play bluegrass fiddle.  Although this is really different, connected to Appalachia and American mountain folk, it does have the fast-paced runs and, more importantly, that heart.  I played tonight at Bluegrass and Burgers, an event hosted by the Cathedral of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston (where we go), I felt that heart.  I felt that I was playing songs about something I cared about, my faith, that I was connected to people from generations back and, even though the traditions differ, that I was connected to my grandfather, your Dédi.

I've told this story before, but the day that he passed away was the day I had my first ultrasound and realized I had a viable pregnancy (I had been bleeding pretty badly, so I wasn't sure).  It was such a bittersweet day; I think your existence is the thing that honestly got me through the raw grief of losing someone so dear to me.  I also have always felt that you are connected to your ancestors; it's otherwise too much of a coincidence that I took the pregnancy test on the anniversary of my father's death, and I had the ultrasound on the day Dédi died.  You are proof that their spirit still lives.

And every time I play the violin, I feel that Dédi's spirit lives even more strongly.  As I played fiddle, you danced and clapped.  You listening to me play, and enjoying it, was like you listening to your Dédi.  I know he looked down from heaven and smiled.  All those years ago, when I barely squeaked out my first folk tune, he knew that he was giving me a great gift, and I now have the honor to give this gift, the gift of our heritage, of music, to you.

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