Strength and Love
Grandpa's Chess Set

A Loss, The Loss

My mother is sitting on the couch opposite me sewing up my younger daughter’s jacket, which is actually her sister’s old jacket. My younger daughter is sleeping, even though it is past noon. My older daughter is back in LA visiting her boyfriend after spending a few days with us. It would be a lovely tableau, except it is a very incomplete picture. My father is not sitting on the other end of either couch reading the Sports section because he passed away on Monday morning.

When I bought our tickets to fly down to Florida last week he was still at home; by the time my younger daughter and I arrived on Friday, he was in ICU waiting to be brought to hospice later that evening.

On Sunday his rabbi told us what a wise rabbi had once told him: at a certain point, you no longer pray for healing but for a peaceful journey. It appears that that is what he had. A peaceful journey for a man who was peaceful his entire life.

Both of his parents had emigrated from Russia with their families when they were young. There is one story of hiding in the back of a hay wagon. Who knows? No one talked of those adventures much. The focus was more on raising their three children, who in turn raised their children, who are now raising their children.

The wavy shock of my father’s red hair had rusted over the years and some on top was lost to two sessions of chemo. But his carrot-top days were still evident in back. As was his sweet tooth. He had not been able to eat for a few weeks due to his esophagael cancer (it was detected in late October), but while we were there we were able to feed him some Key Lime pie, raspberry jello, vanilla ice cream, and he could feed himself some watermelon and cherry candies.

What a thing it is to see a father die. But we spent our last day with him, and his last full day, watching football in the afternoon. It is a thing, though, to know that one’s father was such a good person. Everyone who came to his funeral or came to sit shiva with my mother or who called spoke of a man who was always sweet and soft-spoken. The man who told my mother after a couple of weeks of dating that he wanted to be together “for life” did just that for almost 55 years.

And now my mother will have a different life. And we who loved him will have a different life. But his kindness and gentleness will always be a part of our lives.



I am so sorry for your loss.


I am sorry to hear of your loss. It sounds as though your father had a wonderful life and a peaceful journey which must bring some measure of comfort. Take care...


I am sorry to hear of your loss.

Hold on to what is good even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand even when I have gone away from you.


I am so sorry for the loss of your father. The hole in the fabric that is your family will be mended in time but the place will always be evident where this wonderful man once fit.
It is good he left behind so many happy memories; they last so much longer than bad ones.
Know you are all in my thoughts and meditations.


You and your family have my sympathy. Find strength in the happy memories.


Laura, what a sweet post about your father. Thank you for sharing your memories about him. I pray that your mother will be able to find solace in these memories. What a beautiful love story they had.


(((((Laura))))) You write beautifully of something so sad. Your words..."What a thing it is to see a father die." As I read your account of your last days with him, I couldn't help but cry. What a beautiful thing to be able to say this about your father. Beautiful and touching. I am sorry for your loss Laura and your mothers. Having his gentleness and kindness live on in you is a wonderful legacy he left behind. Thank you for sharing really touches my heart. XX Lori


55 years, all love should last like that. I am so sorry for your family's loss, and I am glad for your memories.


Oh, Laura, I'm so sorry! Hugs to you and your mother. I wish there was something that could make sense of it all. All I've got is that love never dies, and I wish you and your mother peace in the new year.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Bonnie, thank you.

Beth, he was so afraid that the doctor's would connect him to every device possible to keep him going that it was surely what he had wanted to have passed so quietly and painlessly.

Ms. Darkstar, I actually held onto some of the dirt and crushed it into my hand before tossing it onto his grave. A good person is so easy to remember.

rockync, your words, as always, reach into me.

Sherry, indeed.

JC, their lives were full and reflected the happiness that they created in each other.

Thank you, Lori.

Deni, from 22 to 76. A lifetime shared together. I hope my mother focuses on that and not just her emptiness now.

April, the love of a man who lived for his family is certainly something that transcends death.

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