My grandmother Lili died last Friday morning in New York; she was 94 years old (almost 95).

Lili, two days after her 90th birthday, in her apartment in New York. (2004)

One of the things I’ve been remembering over the past few days is how she connected with my friends that she met. She recalled people she’d only met once or twice for years, and would ask about them when we chatted on the phone. At a party after my college graduation, I remember four or five of my friends around her, listening with rapt attention to stories of her life for the better part of an hour.

She had a long, full life, survived much of WWII in hiding in Europe, emigrated to the United States, raised a daughter, ran a business and managed a building in New York City into her eighties, not only survived a major accident that doctors said would leave her unable to walk but scoffed at the idea of using a cane afterward, and connected with many people, even if she didn’t have a lot of friends.

She also was ready to be done. For the past few years, she’d said that there wasn’t anything she really wanted to do. It’s hard to argue that point with a 90 year-old who’s lived in Manhattan for twice as long as you’ve been alive. Over the past year or so, she said things were getting harder, even day-to-day things. Thankfully, her passing was quick and hopefully easy and painless. It’s a sad thing for sure, but not tragic.

She’ll be missed.

[ I’ve written about her a couple of times before, notably here and here. ]

posted June 22, 2009 – 10:39 am
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