This week, my grandfather celebrated his 97th birthday. We had a party on Sunday, that I helped to organize thanks to Facebook. His birthday was either the 9th or 10th, no one was sure since it hadn’t been recorded.
Today, 97 years ago he was just a few days old. But this morning at 3am he passed away.
We had to take him to the Hospice at Bellevue two days ago, when his situation began deteriorating. The first night when I visited, he was semi-conscious but restless. Last night he was on medication to make him comfortable, and resting peacefully.
I hope he went peacefully.
Unfortunately, I cannot say he lived peacefully. He was like the Colonel of Kvetching. But at least now I can say say that whenever I complain, he lives on. That is quite a legacy, considering that I have inherited my fair share of complaints.
No doubt, he had a difficult time growing up during the depression. I’ve written about that before on this blog.
He used to write me poems in French. I wish I still had them, as proof that he could be tender-hearted. I was always scared he would shoot off a criticism, which was so second nature to him that he would barely bat an eyelash.
He was a veteran traveler and spoke several languages. He grew up speaking Yiddish so could get by in German. My grandparents spent much of their later years in Baden Baden, Germany. He spoke Italian and shared stories about their adventures in Florence. He saw much of the world while in the Navy. He hitched rides on freight trains.
He was a gourmand to the fullest, and it was rare when things were up to his mark. But I will surely relish my food in his honor.
He had more than three closets full of clothes; he spared no indulgence when it came to designer fashion. Although I was headed in that direction, my detour in India somewhat curtailed my clothing cravings to a certain extent. But I should surely enjoy shopping in New York more for him, since I’ve come to see it more as a chore.
And, I will always think of him and my grandmother when I listen to classical music, which they had playing most of the time.
Now it’s up to us to create the Fenster family of the future!