Chapter 20

  When all of this was going on, Father was not alive. Father died of a heart attack in the evening of March 3, 1957.

Father had a villa in a small resort Bukowno, where he had also a second office. He died after suffering a massive heart attack. He was 65 years old. He had a long history of coronary heart disease, with frequent attacks of angina, and mild diabetes, which was discovered when he was about 62. Father also had a history of a stroke in his fifties, with transient right hemi paresis. Father was doing well until the last moment.
At the time of father’s death my sister was vacationing in Zakopane. Sam and I drove Ella to Zakopane and we stayed there through the weekend.  On our return from Zakopane, we were told by our “ciocia”(Zofia) that we should proceed directly to Bukowno. She told me that father is very ill. She knew that he passed away the previous evening but she decided not to shock us with the news.

Sam and I drove directly to Bukowno. When we were approaching father’s villa we were told that the“ doctor died“.  I became hysterical. When we arrived aunt Tania, her family and cousin Edek(Monia Glazman) were there. Father‘s body was on his bed. He appeared to be sleeping. He had a light smile on his face.

We ordered a casket in Bukowno. The night we spent in Tania’s home in Chorzow. I phoned Ella to inform her that our father passed away. The following day the casket was ready. Sam and I with the help of two men, dressed father in his favored brown suit and we put him in the casket. My crazy concern was that the pillow should be comfortable. Everything was so rushed and we had to arrange many formalities. I was in shock. I was not able to accept that father is no longer. Everything around me did not appear real.                                   
The funeral was traditional. For every child the death of a parent is a beginning of a different phase of life. For me, it was a very difficult time. We were very close. We visited often and we talked on the phone daily. Father adored his grandchildren. Maria was born a little lady, but Roman was a mischievous boy. Once father took Roman  to a well-frequented cafe Europe in Krakow . We had a date for the afternoon to meet there. When I arrived, father was upset. Roman was running around with father’s scarf around his neck.  He refused to sit quietly by the table as his sister would do. After this experience father never took Roman to a cafe again unless he had help in managing Roman.

The day after the funeral, I went to father’s home to look through his papers and other possessions. Father had a safe box, where he kept jewelry and currency. It was gone. I looked through the papers. I found mother’s letters and his valet with the photos of Ella’s son Andy and of my children. I was not able to find  papers to indicate that he applied for passport to leave Poland. He did not. He wanted us to leave, but he had no courage to begin a new life at the age of 65.

I still see myself sitting on the floors and going through all father’s possessions. It was very painful.  I was trying to read father’s thoughts when he collected and kept the papers. I went through the same feeling when I looked through my husband’s closet and his papers. It was  hell. I do not want my children to go through the same. I try to dispose of things and organize the rest.                                                                .

Sam sold father’s car and gave the money to Ella. She also got the Persian rug, the porcelain figures of a dog, and of a woman and a sculpture in wood. Nothing of monetary value, but important mementos, Every time I look at the objects displayed on the top shelf in her living room, it reminds me  of the time when I collected them.  It was very, very difficult to be alone and to try to understand what were father’s thoughts the last moments of his life.

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