Monday, May 13, 2013

Gert at 102, The View

Gert passed away on Saturday. She was 102, almost 103 years old. Can you imagine? She lived a full active life for just over a century!! I met Gert at 'The Hallmark', in New York City, where Mom lived for 8 of her 9 last years. I can count in my head how many wonderful friends of Mom's, and mine, were lost over that time. But, this is about Gert and this is my favorite story about her. 

Two Springs ago, when Mom was so ill with pneumonia and congestive heart failure, I was in the City for over a week running back and forth to the hospital. I was staying in Mom's apartment downtown. The Hallmark is all the way downtown, and NYU, where Mom was in the hospital is on the East Side. There is just no easy way to get there, and back via public transportation, and I was tired. So, in the evening, when I would come back from the hospital, I would go into the Library in the building, which also houses 2 computers, check my e-mail, catch up on all the on-line 'stuff', clear my head. That Spring, there was only 1 computer. Most of those nights, I would find Gert, sitting at the computer, playing 'Spider'. She could not hear well, and she was so fixed on killing the competition, that she did not know I was there. I would sit and watch her for 20 or 30 minutes. At some point, I would gently tap her on the shoulder, and she would 'come back' from the land of solitaire. I would help her gather her things, she would always ask, 'How is Mother, please send her my regards.' We would chit chat about the day, the weather. But here is what she did. One night in particular, I must have been rather bedraggled, and she stood very close, took my face in those wise hands and said, 'Remember, you must take care of yourself too.' Maybe it was the sparkle in her eye, or the gentle touch, but I can still see her, feel her. It was a moment, but I will never forget.

So, here's to you Gert, show them how it's done!!!

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