For the past 3 years I have spend almost every day with my grandfather. We sat next to each other at Hughes Enterprises, the company he founded over 60 years ago. Everyday he would come in, tell me about his day, health, money, family, history and life. In this short span of a few years my grandfather opened up to me with the love, care, and affection of a parent. I will miss him tremendously. My grandfather loved me, I was his grandson.

My grandfather’s decline in health came about 3 months ago after the accident at his house. The day of the accident prior to going home he told me he was “achy” and that he felt his health was on a “sled ride downhill.” 

His health since the day of the accident never improved. It progressively got worse as his hospital stay extended for months. Every time I saw him and when he was cognitive at the hospital he would ask me – “How is Donna? She is a great women, and cook. You made a good choice. How are your wedding plans? I would like to be there for your wedding.   How are your Jewish studies and plans with the Rabbinate?”

About a week ago my grandfather entered the hospital for the second time, this time due to an infection.   His condition was rapidly deteriorating. My grandfather had been clinging on for weeks. He wanted to see Donna and me married. I arranged for the Rabbi of Kehillat HaNahar Synagogue in New Hope, the Synagogue we currently teach at, to meet Donna and me at the hospital. We asked our Rabbi to conduct the prayers from our wedding ceremony with him. On the last day of Passover, the 22nd of Nisan, a day before my grandfather passed away, a miracle happened as we visited him.

When Donna, our Rabbi, and I entered into his room at the hospital, my grandfather was the cognizant for the first time in months. We held a clear, coherent conversation. He laughed and joked with us for a few minutes. “One of these days I will catch you shaved” he joked with me.

My Rabbi told him “I am here to celebrate with you these two wonderful souls joining in marriage.” “Your grandson,” she pointed to me “Schuyler” and “Donna.” “Schuyler and Who?” Max responded. We looked at one another as a deep feeling of depression rolled over us “Were we too late for him to understand what we were doing here?” I thought. Before I could begin to explain – “Who was Donna?” he interjected “I know who she is” and a beautiful smile light up his face. “Hi Donna, How are you?” Max told her. My Rabbi carefully went through the traditions of our marriage ceremony with my grandfather. My Rabbi told him that we are to be wed in the tradition of Abraham and Sarah. We said together in Hebrew “Ani ledodi vedodi li” (I am to my beloved and my beloved is to me). She told him the details of our marriage arrangements. Max asked questions. He wanted some prayers in both Yiddish and English. We did the best with our vintage Yiddish.   We prayed for a refuah shelemah. Max’s smile that day will stick with me forever.
 

Before we left I had a moment alone with Max. I looked at him in the eyes and spoke to him “You know grandpa, I am really happy you were able to see this day, I want you to know in a few years when we have children of our own I will name my firstborn after you.” He was tearing.

I have devoted my life to studying my faith, Judaism. I am a year into my M.A programs at Gratz College with the Rabbinate in mind. I believe Max’s health improved for one day by a miracle, to see Donna, the Rabbi, and myself. Max’s death was not coincidently timed just over 24 hours after our mock ceremony. I believe Max was at peace and was able to pass on until the next. His grandson 26, had become a man.

  

Zichrono l'vracha Moidle ben Chaim

May his memory be blessed


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