Apr 24, 2013

Broken Hearted

We lost my grandfather, Larry Fyman, one week ago at the age of 94. It was not quite six months after the passing of his beautiful and brilliant bride Bess and it would not be wrong to say that he died of a broken heart.


I’ve been thinking about how to write this post for the past week and I still not sure I can do it justice. There just aren’t words to express how we all felt about my grandfather but I’m going to try because I wish you all could’ve met him. You would’ve loved him as we did.

My grandfather was extremely outgoing and gregarious right up until the end. The last time I saw him was in February and I took him to a discount store where he rode one of those carts around, lauging with people as he went about what a bad driver he was. He never met a stranger and he was always ready with a joke – preferably an off-color one. He left me with one that day and I’m struggling to recall it.

My grandparents with my mom
Young Fyman Family

He was active. He drove like a Queens native (which is to say aggressively) until about 2 years ago. He loved long walks and danced at every occasion. He played games with his grandchildren and great grandchildren. He loved to go to see a good baseball game, especially his Mets. He’d call my husband and discuss gripe about players he disliked or crow about a game they won. Sometimes he’d clip an article from the NY Post and send it to Bruce because he thought he’d enjoy it. He liked having someone to talk sports to.

My grandfather with Lindsey
DQ and grandpa

To the rest of the world he was Larry but to us he was Laurie (a holdover from his boyhood in Leeds, England), grandpa, or Zayda. He loved that last one which is Yiddish for grandpa. That’s what the great-grandchildren called him. He had 12 of them and the oldest was my Lindsey. You never saw anyone as overjoyed to change a dirty diaper as when he changed hers. And years later, when he had the pleasure of attending her Bat Mitzvah he told me afterward with tears in his eyes that it was the best day because he never imagined he be here to see a great grandchild grow up. That made it my best day too.

My grandfather loved everyone and supported us all. I’m proud to say that when Canada legalized gay marriage my grandfather called my cousins and told them he was ready to hit the road. He was ready to drive them to Canada to get married immediately but they waited until it was legal closer to home.

My grandparents favorite picture of them.
The Fymans - Young and Gorgeous

One of the most notable things about my grandfather was his selflessness. He gave of himself tirelessly to his friends, family and community. He drove relatives to doctors’ appointments and bailed out granddaughters who made bad choices. Most of all he loved my grandmother and never stopped putting her first. For more than 70 years he gave her credit for all the good in their life. He never wanted more than her happiness and, to that end, insisted that we celebrate her birthdays instead of his and give her gifts instead of him. It was always all about his Bess, the smartest and most beautiful person he knew.

The world is a better place and I am a better person because of my grandfather.  He inspired me to do my best  and when I succeeded he is the person I most wanted to share it with.  There was nothing quite like knowing he was proud of me.

If you’ve made it to the end then I thank you for allowing me one last opportunity to share my favorite person. I really do wish that you could’ve met him. He was extraordinary!


sprite said...

He sounds like an amazing guy. Thank you for sharing him with us (today and in the other posts through the years).

I'm sorry for your loss. May all these wonderful memories help you through the sad days ahead.

Manise said...

I am so, so very sorry Hillary to hear about the passing of your grandfather. What an extraordinary man and such a loving tribute. How lucky you were to have him and your grandmother in your lives. May they both rest in peace and you be comforted by the many, many memories that you all shared together. Hugs.

Carole Julius said...

Awwww, Hill. I'm so sorry, honey. I know how much he meant to you and I can only imagine how much you will miss him. He will live on in your memories, though, and in the stories that you all will tell to little Marissa.

David Emily and Noah said...

Great job, Hllary. We all have a (in my case,uncle) Laurie story. We'll miss them.