A big empty spot in my heart

When I heard that my grandfather, Teddy Kollek, had been mayor of Jerusalem, for 28 years, I felt lucky, but mostly proud, even though I was little back then, and I didn't even know what the word "mayor" meant.

By AVIGAYEEL KOLLEK
February 4, 2007 10:07
1 minute read.
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shira sachs funeral 88 2. (photo credit: )

 
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When I heard that my grandfather, Teddy Kollek, had been mayor of Jerusalem, for 28 years, I felt lucky, but mostly proud, even though I was little back then, and I didn't even know what the word "mayor" meant. Teddy was no longer mayor when I was born, so I knew him as Grandpa Teddy, not Mr. Teddy Kollek, mayor of the holy city. He was very kind and gentle, and yet so strong. He always kept his promises, and always remembered to love his friends and family. I knew that some day this awful nightmare would happen, that Teddy would leave us and never come back. But I didn't know if I would ever get over it. And here I am, a month has already passed since he died, and I swear that everyone who truly loved him for all the great things he did will never forgive him for… leaving. One day, when everything was going perfectly, I suddenly noticed my mom peeking into the classroom, signaling to me. I was in a good mood and cheerful, but my mother seemed pale. She told me, "Avigayeel, something terrible has happened to grandpa." Right away I guessed that he had died. My mother nodded. I felt something burst inside of me. She drove me and my sister to Tamar's house. It was so sad seeing my grandmother just sitting and staring at her husband's photos as though she was imagining him and telling him good-bye in her mind. It was my first time seeing my aunt and cousins cry. I saw my dad cry for the first time, even though I could tell he was trying to hold it in. I cried too. In fact I'm crying right now. There is only one thing I'm thankful for: Teddy died in his sleep, quietly and with no pain. I just wish that great people like Teddy never died. I fear death, but I especially fear others' deaths. Especially dear people like Teddy. And now I know how it feels. When there is a big empty spot in your heart, when someone is gone. The writer is Teddy Kollek's 11-year-old granddaughter.

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