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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

Dedication

Yesterday was my 33rd birthday, and I spent it in Pennsylvania at my grandfather's funeral. He died over the weekend after a stroke caused massive hemhorraging in his brain. He was 91.

My father's brothers and sisters and a few of my cousings surrounded his bed as my grandmother held his hand. He was struggling for breath. The hemhorraging had gotten so bad that blood was leaking from his nose and his ears. My father was with my mom at a trade show in Las Vegas at the time; my grandmother put the phone to my grandfather's ear so that my father could say his final goodbye long-distance. As my grandmother related the story, his breaths grew further apart and eventually, his breath failed altogether.

This is a man who survived one of the most devestating campaigns of a long and brutal war. A British colony at the time, Malta was the most consistently heavily bombed place on Earth during World War II: 17,000 tons of bombs were dropped on an island smaller than 100 square miles in area over a two and a half year period. The Maltese people were forced to live underground in the ancient catacombs. The bombardment was so bad that the people were dying of starvation and thirst. The allies could not get supplies to the tiny island because of the constant barrage by German bombers.

This is a man who worked three jobs when he first arrived in this country with five young children and a sixth soon to come. They lived in East New York, one of the poorest areas of the city, and struggled to make ends meet. It was my grandfather's unflagging commitment to his family that taught my father a very valuable lesson: life is hard work, and you have to look out for your own. Family is what is most important in this life.

This is a man whose mind had slowly slipped away. For the last five years or so, my grandfather hardly recognized his own grandchildren. He forgot how to speak English, lapsing back to his native Maltese, making it impossible for most of us to understand him. But my grandmother never faltered; she took care of him every day, scarcely leaving his side. And in the final moments, he was holding her hand. At the end of the funeral, my grandmother touched his coffin and vowed to never forget.

My grandparents were together for sixty-six years. He has left behind six children, eighteen grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.

We can never forget the sacrifices you made for us, Grandpa. Rest in peace.

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.