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Recommend a "Life Celebration" location?


beemerman2k

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beemerman2k

Fellow BMWST'rs, my younger brother passed away on Saturday evening of a sudden heart condition. On the evening of May 12th (this past Saturday), Michael E. Granberry, MD, passed away while participating in a tennis tournament. Michael was participating in the Anaheim Tennis Center Spring Open & NTRP Championships when suddenly and without forewarning, his heart quite literally gave out. He died rather quickly and painlessly right where he fell beside the tennis court.

 

Here's a picture of him preparing to play. That's his "game face"; he's normally all smiles and laughs.

 

DSC0877-XL.jpg

 

My brother's family is overwhelmed as they drive all over LA trying to get his affairs in order, therefore we divided up the tasks in the interest of making this job manageable. Among my jobs is to find a facility, preferably in [Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Ray] as close to the ocean as possible, where we can gather for a "Celebration of Michael's Life" ceremony. Given that I am on the other side of the country the Internet makes this task unimaginably easier than it would have been pre-WWW days, but it's still no replacement for actually being at the facility.

 

What I am wondering is this: is there anyone out there who might be able to recommend a place? Maybe you've been to a wedding or a funeral or a "Celebration of Life" ceremony in Santa Monica that you thought was particularly beautiful and special. Our priorities are:

 

- Beautiful setting

 

- Quiet (I know, tall order for Santa Monica)

 

- Has a seating capacity of 200+ people

 

- Will allow food and non-alcoholic drinks.

 

I am very open to unconventional ideas. For instance, I was entertaining a club house at a tennis court given the special place they held in my brothers heart. In fact, here are 2 places I discovered and that his family toured, both in the Pacific Palisades:

 

- Buerge Chapel: Beautiful setting, but not all that quiet as traffic noise is too prevalent. Nonetheless, this is a popular spot for weddings

 

- Temescal Gateway Park: This place is my personal pick of the litter, but my brother's children have the final say and they aren't sold on it yet.

 

This is Michael at his LASIK eye surgery center in West LA. Yeah, he hired some cuties to help him run the place:

 

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Any and all feedback will be greatly appreciated.

 

Given that he himself was a physician, we donated his organs to the medical/science community for research purposes. His body will be cremated; therefore, there will be no casket at his memorial service.

 

Michael was no great fan of motorcycles. He loved how they looked and the idea in theory, but he saw too many mangled bodies over the course of his years in the profession to ever feel good about their practical use. He would sometimes send me pictures taken with his cell phone of wrecks or of wrecked up riders he ran into in the streets of Los Angeles. Sometimes he'd call me and ask where I am. If I told him I was at a motorcycle rally, he'd typically respond, "Where's it being held, the local hospital?" According to him, that's where you'll find more "motorcyclist" per capita than anywhere else in any major city :smirk:

 

Well, he did drive a BMW car (I think it was an '08 BMW 325i) :smile:

 

Thanks in advance :thumbsup:

 

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DaveTheAffable

Ohhh... You have my deepest condolences. How lucky he was to have you as a brother.

 

I'm in Colorado this week, Arizona next, and not home this weekend. I'll make some calls and PM if I think of something.

 

I'm so sorry for your grief. Wish I could help more.

 

“A friend is a brother your heart chose for you, A brother is a friend God gave you.”

 

:cry:

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beemerman2k
“A friend is a brother your heart chose for you, A brother is a friend God gave you.”

 

:cry:

 

 

Thank you for your kind words, Dave. Michael was both my brother and my best friend. In fact, just last Thursday we were texting each other and I mentioned to him, "Michael, of all the people who refer to me as 'brother', you're the only person who can do so and mean it in a literal sense". I know this is a rather obvious fact, but I don't ever recall stopping to notice this distinction before.

 

I had a very difficult day on Sunday; the pain was so great that were I a substance abuser I no doubt would have resorted to my drug of choice in hopes of relieving the pain. As of today I am doing much better. I know the pain that awaits me in California is going to be very difficult to deal with.

 

Among Michael's many great characteristics was the fact that he never dwelled on the past or on his mistakes. He believed strongly in always moving forward. This helps because it encourages all of us not to dwell on our loss, but instead to move on as he would strongly encourage us to do.

 

Speaking of substance abuse, I was joking with a friend yesterday that I tried to go see "Leroy the Dope Pusher" to buy some crack, but he is closed on Sundays :Cool:

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beemerman2k

Outstanding place! Thanks for sharing this. I rode right by this place on a few rides exploring this area of LA. Gorgeous views of the ocean and the Catalina Islands; the area is incredible.

 

OK, I'm going to submit this location for my brothers children to consider (they're not children, they're adults, but they are his offspring :smirk:).

 

Thanks!

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Wow.... Very sorry for your loss.

 

I remember you writing of him from time to time so I know how important he was/is to you.

He will be with you forever in spirit.

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Nice n Easy Rider

James, I'm very sorry for your loss. My condolences to you and your entire family.

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Sorry for your loss.

Wherever the memorial is, it will work out.

The celebration of his life will be what is carried in the family's memories.

 

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Husker Red

James, so sorry for your loss. I am happy that you have such a strong family to help you through this time. Lean on them and get through it together.

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Mister Tee

Sorry for your loss, Beemerman. I'm sure some of our Southern California riders will chime in for some recommendations on a facility. If you happened to be all in Northern California, the Tee would recommend a couple of choice Napa Valley wineries, which are often used for non-alcoholic events.

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James -

 

So sorry to hear about Michael's sudden passing. I've lost two brothers to The Big Man in the Sky and think of both of them everyday. You have one heck of a family and your attitude is remarkable. My thoughts are with you.

 

J.

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While I can offer no help on the location question, we too send our condolences. Donna’s family in particular hold Celebration of a Life gatherings upon someone’s death. I think they are a wonderful idea.

 

How lucky each of you were to have the other.

 

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I don't have a particular spot in mind but I hope your gathering ends up being a fitting celebration of your brother's life.

 

Let me know if there's anything I can do.

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I am very sorry to hear of your brother's sudden passing, James. Please accept my condolences.

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beemerman2k

Well, I just had a sobering day at the doctors office. The truth is I have been experiencing minor chest pains as well over the past few months. Nothing to call 911 about, but noticeable nonetheless. I would only feel it during ultra-strenuous exercise.

 

For instance, for years I have been mowing my lawn with a self propelled lawn mower. My yard is so huge that it takes me 5 hours to mow it from start to finish. My neighbors often ask me why I don't buy a rider, so I explain to them how this is the only exercise I get and that having some exercise is important to me.

 

Yet on Saturday I did feel minor chest pains. Had my brother not died like he did, I am sure I would have continued to ignore these very minor pains. But he did, so I chose to stop ignoring them and I spent today with a cardiologist.

 

Long story short, I do have heart issues. He put me under a stress test while an EKG monitored my heart and constant blood pressure readings were taken. I successfully completed the stress test without any chest pain (no doubt because of my lawn mowing training :grin:), but apparently my readings signified blockage problems that are developing. According to my doctor, anyone who has been a type 1 diabetic for as long as I have definitely has heart problems, it's part of the territory.

 

So now I am on new medicines that are supposed to keep me stable while I travel to California and undergo more tests.

 

Moral of the story: TODAY is a gift!

 

Appreciate it. Really. Because we only have so many of them, and they are not ours to claim as though they are owed to us by somebody. My brother did all of us a favor by living his life as though each day was a gift. I'm sure if he had to do it all over again he'd do somethings differently. Having said that, I have no doubt that he didn't seize the day and take maximum advantage of the brief window of life he enjoyed. I would be honored to leave behind a similar legacy for my own children.

 

Today is a gift, use it wisely :thumbsup:

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James, seriously, take care of yourself over the next few days. This is a stressful time and your family--hell, all of us--need you. The temptation will be to do it all, but get plenty of rest. Remember, above all else, this is a time to celebrate his life. Make it a time of joy, in spite of the heartbreak.

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beemerman2k

Wow, one of the medicines I have are nitro pills :eek:

 

Man, I have seen so many movies where a major character is about to do something great or has to do something critical and just then, POW! -- chest pains kick in and they have to fumble their bottle and manage to get a nitro pill into their mouths. And of course, sometimes, an evil person holds the nitro pills and watches the guy flail in pain. I NEVER thought I'd be one of those nitro-pill taking guys.

 

Talk about a wake up call to reality.

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James, So sorry for your loss. I pray The Lord bring comfort and ease to your heavy heart as well as a safe and healthy journey west and through life.

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James, seriously, take care of yourself over the next few days. This is a stressful time and your family--hell, all of us--need you. The temptation will be to do it all, but get plenty of rest. Remember, above all else, this is a time to celebrate his life. Make it a time of joy, in spite of the heartbreak.

 

Very nicely said Mike.

 

James, there's a saying that goes something like ' Life isn't about surviving the storms, its' about dancing in the rain.' It's my hope that the celebration of life planned for your brother will move you through the hurt of your loss to remembering of the warmth, the joy and the lighter side of your relationship with your brother. I'm sure you are already. Take good care of yourself.

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James,

 

So sorry to hear about your brother. My sincerest condolences to you and the family.

 

And you please take care of yourself FIRST, do not waste your precious gift.

 

 

 

 

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So sorry for your loss, James. What a shock that must have been. Reading your account inspires me to appreciate my brother more.

 

I am right in your target area, but regret that I can't recommend a place. I wish I could. Hang in there.

 

 

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Couchrocket

James,

 

There are no adequate words... I'm just so sorry. I've lost both of my brothers. The loss never leaves, but the love of family sustains.

 

I was also going to suggest Wayfarer's. A lovely place.

 

And - take care of yourself. Those girls need you, and so do we.

 

God bless you ...

Scott

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Mrs. Caddis

James, I am so sorry for you loss. I lost my brother 30 years ago today to a single car accident. The Celebration of Life we had was the best thing we did to help us heal. The best stories we heard from those who knew him were the little everyday things he did that touched so many lives, little things that you never knew about. You will laugh, you will cry and you will remember.

Best wishes to you and your family.

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beemerman2k

Thank you everyone for your help and support. We have decided to have the memorial service at the Burgue Chapel on Memorial Day.

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