You can’t make this stuff up
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You can’t make this stuff up

My father-in-law, thank God, had a life well lived. He accomplished so much and was so well respected. There will be an article about his life in the next week or so, so I won’t go into too much detail here. When I was helping Husband #1 with the eulogy, he wouldn’t let me be humorous, even though my father-in-law had a great sense of humor. He was very clear about when it was appropriate to be serious and respectful, and when it was appropriate to be funny. I had told my boys that they could use my column to reminisce about their grandpa. Son #1 spoke magnificently at the funeral, so he didn’t need to share anything. Son #3 had too much to say to narrow it down to just a few hundred words.

And then there was Son #2.

This past Shabbos, 22 members of Dr. Mendy Ganchrow’s family were together. It was beautiful. Son #2 told us the last words of Torah that his grandfather shared with him before he went into the hospital. They had to do with the first grandfather-grandson blessing. It was eerily clairvoyant. But that isn’t all Son #2 did. I have often said that Son #2 is the favorite grandchild to some of his grandparents. It might annoy the other grandchildren, but Son #2 sometimes has that effect on people. Son #2 has an infectious giggle and loves making other people feel better. That is one of his many gifts. He is also lucky that his head is attached to his body, or for sure he would lose it.( And he is even luckier that he found Dil #2 to marry him…)

Son #2 and Dil #2 flew in for the funeral. They brought a great deal of comfort to Husband #1 and to my mother-in-law. Before they left for the airport, tears were shed, hugs were given, items were retrieved and moved to different cars; the goodbye was very emotional. And then they left. People were coming into the shiva home to pay their respects. Stories of my father-in-law’s many accomplishments were being told to a very crowded house. And then Son #3 comes over to me and says, “Son #2 is on the phone. He just went through security and he has daddy’s car key with him.”

Seriously? Are you kidding me? We drove to Long Island in two cars because Husband #1 went to morning services with his Sons #2 and #3 and Dil #2 and I was going a little bit later with Strudel because she slept over. We also went in two cars because we were sleeping in different places for the remaining nights of shiva (which is not important or relevant to the current story.)

With a house full of people and Husband #1, his mom, and his siblings sitting shiva, I wasn’t in the position to have my head explode and the appropriate expletives to come out of my mouth. “How did you let this happen??????”

Poor Son #2 wasn’t upset enough, but I, unfortunately, made him feel even worse. “Find a grown-up who is wearing a uniform and ask them what to do,” I said to my 24-year-old married son. “I am trying, Mom, I am trying,” he said.

And then, a few minutes later, he called back. “I saw a religious couple walking in the other direction and I told them that my dad was sitting shiva in Woodmere and would it be possible for them to take the key and bring it to him,” Son #2 said in earnest. “Let me talk to them,” I said, not believing that I was having this conversation.

Well, turns out, this couple had landed from Baltimore and were going home to Brooklyn. The woman told me that it would be her greatest pleasure to do a good deed and it would be no problem at all for her to bring the key to Woodmere. (Of course, in the end, it was a driver who brought the key because the woman had a bar mitzvah to go to, but that it isn’t the point. Though it was funny that I was standing outside waiting for a Mercedes with tinted windows to roll down said window and hand me a package wrapped in a paper towel, but still.)

There are good people all around us who want to do good. My father-in-law was an example of a good person who was always looking to do good for others, his family, Israel, whoever asked.

He will be greatly missed.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is so grateful to all of those who reached out, who drove out of their comfort zones (literally) to help Husband #1 get through this very difficult and sad time. May we only know from good things going forward…

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