All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Thursday, 11 October 2007

My Wonderful Bonpapa

Think about it.

There aren't that many people in your life whom you can honestly say you really love. Maybe if you're lucky, you can count them on the fingers of one hand and if you're super-blessed, two.

And that's it.

My paternal grandfather is one of those precious fingers. Today was his yartzheit or anniversary of his death in the Hebrew calendar, going back exactly twenty eight years.

I still remember the terrible moment on that criminally early Shabbat morning when the telephone rang and my late grandmother, New York based, sobbed out the news to my shell-shocked father.

I still remember the feeling of how unfair it was that this wonderful man, one of the only two men in my life whom I truly loved (the other being his son) had gone and left me, but a year before my bar-mitzvah, something that he was so looking forward to.

I still remember receiving the haunting gift of a beautiful fleeced jacket, only days after his sudden death, through the post - and not wanting to wear it because I was so heartbroken.

I still remember.

Bonpapa, I miss you, so so much. Your smile, your wonderful audio tapes, your gentle demeanor. How could you leave me so selfishly at the early age of 74. Why couldn't you wait around to see me grow up, meet a wonderful girl and give you four beautiful and smart great-granddaughters?

How could you leave?

You don't stop adoring someone because they are no longer there. You don't ever stop thinking about them, whilst wondering whether or not they would approve of whom you've become - because they are no longer there.

And then, many years ago, my bonpapa came back to me in a dream.

At the time, I was going out with a girl and it might have turned serious. I vividly remember his appearing to me sitting in the window seat of an airplane, parked on a runway. He looked at me disapprovingly (we'll forget that there was thick glass between us - this was after all a dream) and told me not to marry the girl.

And funnily enough, I listened to him and we broke up soon afterwards.

I still remember.

I remember going to his graveside in New Jersey two years ago and speaking to him on a dull, cloudy day, yet, when I'd finished my sentence, witnessed the sun breaking through the cloud and lighting his grave as though he were giving me his re-assuring, warm smile through the impenetrable granite.

I still remember.

Bonpapa, I tried to avoid listening to music today because I wanted to do my bit of mourning - I hope you know, wherever you are, that I love you so very, very, very much and pray that when it is my time to go and join you upstairs, you'll be waiting there to greet me, with your smile. Your wonderful, sparkling smile.

You are my bonpapa.
My wonderful, special, unforgettable bonpapa.

G-d I miss you.

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