By: Michael Anthony Mrnacaj/
Marash Mrnacaj was like Joe Dimaggio to me
He was my superhero,
my role model.
my grandfather did everything he could to make sure I got whatever I needed.
That I would not be at a disadvantage because I didn’t have a father.
He would not allow that… ever.
That’s the kind of man he was.
He was honest,
To others, and to himself, which is a rare.
He was brave,
He was the head of the house, who lead his families escape from Albania, in the middle of the night, risking his life, for the safety and future of his family
you just don’t hear stories like that anymore
He was Honorable
His word was his bond. If he told you he would do something or made a promise to you, you knew it was as good as done.
There was not one time where he did not do something that he said he was going to do….
That’s a Man of honor
He was Fair and a great Listener:
which are the characteristics of a true leader,
he never yelled… I never heard him yell once…. he didn’t need to,
he tried to see the best in people and he believed in second chances.
He had Patience:
I am telling you, I know this, because he was extremely patient with me.
It took me a long time to get it,
and he was so patient.
He was a man of tradition, respect, he was strong, and firm.
But he also had the warmest heart.
He cared so much for his family. And he was not shy about it.
He showed us affection in every way.
He was his happiest when he was surrounded by his family.
Take a look at the pictures, watch his smile in the ones where he is with his family, he is at his happiest
He was a proud Albanian,
he loved his country, he loved his people.
He did everything he could to help his country,
From fighting in the army, or through protests and politics….
And he never stopped until the day he died.
In fact, his death was the only thing that could stop him from helping his country.
Trust me, he went through everything you could imagine, and it didn’t stop him.
He was charitable, donating to the school in his hometown, that was renamed after my father
And He made sure, that no one ever said a bad thing about my father to me.
He made sure that no one would even dare to.
He believed in me, not all the time…. I didn’t make it easy for him, but he believed in me he motivated me, pushed me, did all the things I, as a boy, needed from a fatherly figure.
We feared him,
Not because he would yell or hit us,
We feared him because we didn’t want to let him down,
because he taught us better.
He taught us to do what is right.
And he was not a man of talk or words, he led by example.
He always did the right thing,
and then when he couldn’t possibly do anymore,
he left it in God’s hands,
because he had faith,
which brought him peace.
He had presence
You noticed him when he walked into a room.
He had class and dignity.
He had self-respect,
It was the way he carried himself- in a suit, tie, the moustache-
You know, I don’t think it has set in yet just how much I am going to miss that moustache
He was funny
He had a great sense of humor.
He was full of jokes, none that I could repeat in here,
nor will I attempt to!
He was hilarious
He was so funny, in a good-hearted way, that he could say
whatever he wanted to anyone and they would just laugh or be
enamored by him.
He had charm, and charisma.
He didn’t have a bad bone in his body.
He was a great man, who lived a long, fascinating life
And behind every great man is a great woman.
And for 65 years, that great woman was his wife, Mria,
Who stood by his side.
He loved her so much
The only thing he loved more than his wife, was her cooking
her ‘bukalmouch me djath, mish n lkana’,
little salt and bread – and he was a happy man.
He was a smart man too, because he married the best cook.
She was by his side through the good times and the tough times.
Over the past 15 months his health had been declining,
he was in and out of the hospital,
and she stood beside him, day and night, every single day.
She never left his side.
She was so exhausted that I saw her fall asleep while standing up.
She would lose her balance because she was so tired.
But that was her man.
And she was there for him
They had a special bond
A true love
And a happy marriage
They had six children, who, led by my uncle Leka, made sure that ‘baba’ was never alone, not for a second, over the past 15 months.
His daughters, Lucy, Vera and Lisa, and Paul accompanied by his nephew Marku and his family, and his grandson Noah, made sure that someone was always there for him.
Do you know what a compass is? North, south, east, west…..
‘Baba’ was like a compass; he gave us direction.
Always, and not just to us, but anybody he met, the man was full of wisdom.
Someone, who didn’t want his name to be mentioned out of respect, described baba perfectly.
He said “I am sad today not because he died, but because we will never find men like him to take his place.”
Bab, I’m gonna be honest, I’m gonna miss you, even those little moments, hearing you walk up and down the hallway whistling,
Whistling his favorite music
Or wearing your UÇK beret,
Or even hearing that sneeze of yours.
His sneeze shook the walls of the house.
Even these little things Im gonna miss.
But I want you to know
That you did right by us.
You did everything you could and we are so thankful.
Everything is OK.
You raised us the right way.
We can take it from here.
We will take care of your wife and make sure your family stays together.
You have nothing to worry about.
It’s time for you to relax and be reunited with your son.
He’s been waiting a long time to hear those jokes of yours.
And now he finally can.
I love you, bab!
And thank you for being the greatest man in my life.
Written by Michael Mrnacaj
In honor of Marash Mrnacaj