Wednesday, May 18, 2011

End of an era

I buried my grandfather today. He celebrated his 101st birthday 3 months ago. He was a tough old man, I can say that about him.
The best thing that can be said about him though, is that he sired my father. He didn't do a very good job of being a father to him, but MY dad grew up to be a good one to me. My dad only lived for 53 years, which is way too short for such a brilliant, nice, funny, strong and tough man. The world became a lesser place when he died, and it isn't just me saying that.
Such sentiments are not heard about my grandfather. He was a bitter, cynical man, he was cruel to his kids and cold to his grandkids. I won't even go into his really bad side. There was a lot to explain this unpleasant part of him, he had a very hard and difficult life almost from the moment he was born, and I totally understand how he got to be the way he was.
But I don't have to like him, and I never did. My dad only got be 53, and there was no one on the planet who disliked him. More than 400 people attended his funeral. My grandfather was 101, and barely 20 people showed up, including his estranged family. I guess the good really do die young.

Still, without him, I would not have been. He married a gentile, and it turned out that was what saved him when his six brothers and two sisters were deported to Germany with all of their children. One brother and one niece returned, out of all of those families with children.
My grandpa was never in real danger in the war, and neither were my father or his siblings. And so a few of my once large extended family survived, and eventually I was born, and then I had beautiful sons myself.
All because of an almost random choice for a non-jewish wife.

Rest in peace, granddad. You more than earned it, I guess.


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