Once again I’ve gone longer than intended without a blog update.
Last Tuesday evening, I had just finished uploading a batch up pictures and was sitting down to write an entry about our visit to Virginia to visit my best friend Jen and her happy family, when I received the phone call I’d been dreading for the past few months. Just a few hours after an initial call saying that my grandpa wasn’t doing well, my mom called back to say that he had passed away at home that evening. While I’d been preparing myself for the news for quite some time, I still wasn’t ready to hear that my last grandparent had left us.
I don’t really have the words to eulogize my grandpa Bill. He was a special man. He was a hero. He was my hero. He was one of those men that just kept the most optimistic view on life, even when he’d been dealt a hand that most of us couldn’t even imagine. In the past few years, he fought stomach cancer, bladder cancer, and lung cancer. And that was nothing compared to what he faced as a teenager and young adult, when he survived the Holocaust – losing most of his family, fleeing bullets as he escaped a work camp, and living in a hole in the ground in the woods until liberation.
While he frequently spoke of his time in Poland during the war to help educate many, through his demeanor you’d never know that he had been through such hardship. When speaking of his recent ailments and misery, his favorite phrase was “it is what it is”, and I received a lot of “I’m doing OK”‘s during our phone conversations.
More than anything, I am so glad that he was able to spend time with his great-granddaughter Bella. It makes me feel better that he was able to hold her just a few weeks ago, when we spent the day in New York. She sat right in front of his chair, playing with her blocks, munching on some puffs, and doing everything in her power to make him smile.
Family get-togethers will never be the same, but I’m thankful that we have so many wonderful memories to hold onto.