web analytics
March 30, 2015 / 10 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


The Holocaust Grandchild

           My mother’s recent yahrzeit after Pesach, coupled with Yom HaZikaron and recent Yom Tovim and Shabbatot spent with my children and grandchildren, has cemented my belief that I was robbed of a major life asset – my grandparents. While I knew that having them was a life-enhancing relationship, I didn’t truly comprehend it until I became one.

 

In terms of life’s milestones and-life changing situations, I’ve concluded that you have to “be there” or have to have “done that” in order to truly grasp the concept and totally fathom it. You have to walk in the shoes in order to understand the path. It really doesn’t matter how much reading or research someone does, for unless you experience something, it’s hard to truly “get it.” That is why there are support groups for all kinds of situations – i.e. bereaved parents, and those with addictions – consisting only of people who have lived through the same things.

 

While growing up, I had no idea what I was missing not having grandparents. It’s hard to miss what you don’t have. I knew it would have been nice to have a bubby and zayde, but it wasn’t part of my reality.

 

Over the years I gained some insight into the world of grandparents through my children’s interactions with their grandparents, but it was still as an “outsider.” It is only now when I myself am a bubby that I see how special and enriching that relationship is. I find myself pleasantly taken aback when the “older” kids (the three who can walk) run to me when I open the door, or want to talk to me on the phone when I’m speaking with their parents. It is a novelty, something sadly new to me. If I had had grandparents, no doubt I would not be surprised by my grandchildren’s reactions. But I am, because I never experienced the life of a grandchild.

 

Only once in my life did I taste that, and I still reel from its memory. On a visit to Israel when I was 19, I was introduced to a very old man at a gathering. In my young eyes, he looked beyond ancient. I barely gave him a glance, and he certainly had no interest in this teenaged girl from Canada. But then someone brought me over to say hello, and I identified myself. He suddenly perked up, peered in my face, and asked me in Yiddish, “Du bist Shimele’s einekel? – Are you Shimon’s grandchild?” I remember being floored by that statement. I was someone’s daughter, sister, cousin, friend – but I had never been viewed as or called someone’s grandchild.

 

It was a very bittersweet moment. I knew this was the first and last time in my life I would be referred to as a grandchild. I cherish that moment, and mourn it as the loss of such a crucial aspect of my childhood. I know that had I grown with the unconditional love, praise and support that is the gift grandparents bestow on their children’s children, I may have avoided some of the potholes that tripped me on my life’s journey.

 

Below is a poem in memory of my grandparents, who were murdered in the Shoah and who I still mostly associate with the flickering yahrzeit candles of my childhood.


 


For me there was no bubby,


To whom I was a cherished guest.


For me there was nozaide,


Convinced I was the best.


For me there was no grandpa,


To tickle me when I was sad.


For me there was no grandma


I could run to when Mommy was mad.


 


For me there were no grandparents,


With open arms and a welcoming lap.


Patiently listening to my chatter,


Or spinning tales that held me rapt.


 


For me there are no memories


Of the older generation I never knew.


No loving experiences to remember,


No magical moments to review.


 


I have no sweet recollections


Over which I can nod and smile.


To give them life inside my mind,


If only for a little while.


 


For me there are no gravesites,


Where I can go and shed a tear.


And share my thoughts with those long gone,


And feel that they are still near.


 


In my heart there is an empty space,


For my childhood contained a hole.


I had no past to guide my future,


A lacking that still takes a toll.


 


For me there were no elders,


The family albums were never whole.


For at birth I was a “grand-orphan,”


A deprivation that still gnaws at my soul.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Holocaust Grandchild”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PLO / PA / Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
PA Back Down on ICC in Exchange for Frozen Tax Revenue
Latest Sections Stories
Neuman-Rabbi-M-Gary

Are we allowed to lie for shalom bayis? It would seem so, but what might be a healthy guideline for when it’s okay and when it’s not?

book-To-Fill-The-Sky-With-Stars

The connection between what I experienced as a high school teenager and the adult I am today did not come easy to me.

Respler-032715

Isn’t therapy about being yourself; aren’t there different ways for people to communicate with each other?

South-Florida-logo

Jack was awarded a blue and gold first-place trophy, appropriately topped off with a golden bee.

Participating in ManiCures during the school day may feel like a break from learning, but the intended message to the students was loud and clear. Learning and chesed come in all forms, and can be fun.

Building campaign chairman Jack Gluck has led the effort over many years.

When using an extension cord always make sure to use the correct rated extension cord.

There was no question that when Mrs. Cohen entered the room to meet the teacher she was hostile from the outset.

Szold was among the founders and leaders (she served on its executive committee) of Ichud (“Unity”), a political group that campaigned against the creation of an independent, sovereign Jewish state in Eretz Yisrael.

My friend is a strong and capable Jewish woman, but she acted with a passivity that seemed out of character.

“If you don’t stand straight, you’ll never get a husband.”

First, sit down with your helpers and a pen and paper and break the jobs down into small parts.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-112114

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

Kupfer-092614-Books

Not knowing any better, I assumed that Molly and her mother must be voracious readers.

Unpleasant happenings are quickly discarded if they do not affect us directly.

I have always insisted that everything that happens to anyone or anything is min Shamayim.

It is so hurtful to heighten people’s sense of inadequacy and guilt in a matzav that is already horrendous and difficult to bear.

Make no mistake: in the wrong hands cars are weapons of mass destruction.

Where once divorce in heimische communities was relatively uncommon, nowadays every family has a son, daughter, sibling cousin who is divorced – sometimes twice or even three times!

Many go about the business of living frum, observant lives, but they are only going through the motions.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/the-holocaust-grandchild/2009/05/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: