Saying Goodbye

bookIt’s been a while since I posted though my life has been anything but dormant or boring, I’ve had lots to say but it never felt like the right time to say it, until now. This week, the 10 days between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur is the time each of us must make the last-ditch effort at amends and ask for forgiveness from our fellow Jews, friends, associates and G-d. The Good Book is closing and as I child I would actually visualize this, this, this massive over-sized giant book and have to squint to see if my name was written in it.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve had time to reflect about the past year – what happened and how I handled certain situations and what this year has planned for me, rather what goals or dreams or accomplishments would I like to achieve? Perhaps not letting time go by without reaching out to make more of an effort to tell those I love them, even if they live far away.

Holding me as a newborn

Holding me as a newborn

This year I said goodbye to my Grandpa Mickey, Michael Marks, who more recently was referred to as G-pa. Though we didn’t really communicate too much the last few years he was always so special to me and I had always secretly wished we lived closer. I felt even as a child that my paternal grandparents were more “for me” and that my maternal grandparents were more “for the cousins”. They all lived in Florida and we lived in the tri-state area. It seemed only fair that we each got to be spoiled by at least one set of grandparents so as a kid, there was always a slight distance that I kept. Once I moved countries with my family as an adult it became increasingly difficult to connect on many levels however the memories and love I had as a child really carried me through the years of separation.

apple picking

Apple Picking

at the circus

At the circus

At the end my grandfather was recognized as the true hero he was, but to me, he was the funniest grandpa ever. He had a twitchy mustache and was built with muscles that reminded me of Pop-eye. He had the warmest eyes and the roughest hands and the baldest head and the best voice. When he held us, he hugged with strength. When he helped us, he did it with a good heart. When we vacationed, it was the best of times. And when we danced?

Dancing at my brother's wedding

Dancing at my brother’s wedding

Seriously, that’s the very best memory of all. While we didn’t dance at my wedding for religious purposes, my grandfather blessed me as all the fathers do and then we honored him with the prayer over the bread that initiated the dining. He would tease me and my cousin Lisa, mercilessly, dance his pectoral muscles and then made us squeal when he said it was the girl’s turn next. While many thought he resembled a ninja turtle, to me he was larger than life and I will always miss that smile. He was mischievous and would make my grandmother use his full name when she reprimanded him, but this too is just a faded sweet memory. He was from what I could see from afar the most supportive great-grandfather, always in the bleachers, cheering his kids on. He was generous and kind and funny and everything grandfathers are supposed to be. He made everyone smile (except grandma – sometimes) and that’s the way I’ll always remember him.

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