Friday, November 13, 2015

Hello, Goodbye

A few days ago, my beloved Papa passed away. My Mom called me on Monday and said I needed to get to New York asap to say goodbye to him, so I was on a plane by midnight, in NY by 6am, at Papa's hospital bedside by 11am. He passed away that evening, after Mom and Rebecca got to say their goodbyes. The funeral was yesterday morning. I don't remember the last time I cried so much. I spoked at the funeral. This is what I said:

"My Papa spent his last day surrounded by people who love him. I don't know what life will be like without him, but I am thankful that he was around for my life thus far.

When my sister and I were little and Papa was visiting us in Florida, which he did for each of our birthdays in our youth, Rebecca and I would fight over who got to snuggle with him in the guest room each night. We would watch Emeril Legassi on the Food Network at night, and Scooby Doo cartoons in the morning. He would sit outside on our patio reading books in the sun, enjoying the warmth in his bucket hat. One year, my sister took him to preschool as her show and tell. He read all of the Harry Potter books, and though he said he liked them I have a suspicion he only read them because I loved them so much. When I was in college, he spent several weeks in Florida with my mom, where he bonded with our cat and told my sister how much he loved and missed our grandma. He said, 'She was the prettiest girl I'd ever seen' and grandma said, 'He lived a very sheltered life.' He once told Rebecca 'I told grandma I miss her and I want to go home too. She's my wife! And my best friend. And I love her.'

He said the blessings at all of our (the cousins) bar and bat mitzvahs. He was the worst backseat driver EVER and he loved the Yankees, even though my uncles (his three sons) tend to prefer the Mets. He took his pills with tomato juice exclusively and said water was 'for external use only'. He had the best memory of anyone I've ever known, and once you got him going telling stories, there was no stopping (even if you'd heard the story three times before).

When we made plans to go to a Yankee game last summer, he was so excited that he talked about it every day for a month prior. He was most excited when he was planning trips for he and grandma to see their children and grandchildren. He bugged me almost everyday since January about the date of my upcoming graduation from my masters and my cousin Elana's college graduation, so he could try to be at both, and he spent an entire year planning my grandma's surprise 80th birthday party.

On his last day, we spent all day with him. I told him that my and my sister were on their way and coming later. I told him to just wait for them to say goodbye, and he did. I think it's safe to say that there was nothing more important to him than family. He was happiest at family events when everyone was together. He always made an effort to attend weddings, bat mitzvahs, birthdays. And I think it's safe to say that he was in fact the man, the myth, the legend, our Papa. We will miss him so, so much.'

It's been a rough week, especially considering it's been exactly one year from our Grandma Lillian's death, but I am grateful that I could be here surrounded by family (Dad included). Thank you for all your well-wishes. The outpouring of kindness from those near and far is overwhelming and much appreciated.

Papa loved my blog posts, for some reason. He asked me about them regularly and referenced them in conversations we had. For him, I'm going to try to post more.


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