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October 1, 2014 / 7 Tishri, 5775
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My Zaidy

Teens-072012

Only occasionally do I stop and remember how it felt when my grandfather was sick, beginning with an unfortunate accident when I was around eight years old, and ending with his death after seven years of complications and medical drama. During those years, there were times when he was in a coma and it seemed he wouldn’t make it, times when I visited him in the hospital and he was awake and alert and even times when he was at home and relatively healthy. When I would hear him walking around the house with a walker or talking on the phone, it reminded me of when he was healthy, and I would begin to hope that he might fully recover.

He never did fully recover. He died in the hospital when I was in the eighth grade. By then, it was hard to remember him as a vibrant grandfather, and the lovely memories I had from when I was younger were mostly overshadowed by those of him being sick, and often withdrawn, due to illness, and I suppose, lots of pain. Throughout it all, he was always kind, and though he was often a little reserved I never had any reason to doubt the love I’d felt as a small child from him.

His death marked the passing of not only a great man, but also the person who was a hero to his granddaughter, who remembers him as a kindly adult in this otherwise confusing world. Though it has been several years since his passing, whenever I stop and think about my grandfather’s presence in my childhood, I once again feel the warmth of the kindness of the great man who I was fortunate to call my Zaidy.

In loving memory of my Zaidy, Mr. Leo Weiner, Eliezer Lipa Ben Boruch.

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Teens-072012

When I think of how to describe my Zaidy to someone who has never met him, I find myself at a loss. I don’t know how to put my grandfather’s presence into words in a way that will sufficiently describe the picture I have of him in my mind. The fact that my most vivid memories are from when I was quite young make the task no easier. He was, simply, “Zaidy.” Regardless of profession, history or future, he just was.

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My friend’s mother died the other day. I went to the funeral, cried with the mourners, walked the traditional four cubits following the coffin to escort the dead to their resting place, as is customary at Jewish funerals, and then went over to my friend to offer my condolences. And then it was over. The guests went home, the family went to bury their loved one, and I went back to my life.

I love coffee, but I cannot drink it. This has been the case since my doctor issued the verdict last month – no coffee and no milk. I was quite disappointed to hear that as I love coffee, but I was determined to follow expert medical advice. That conviction, however, did not last more than one week into a new semester with a full course load.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/my-zaidy/2012/07/22/

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