Sad Hearts

by Susan Heagy

I cannot believe Leonid is gone.  I missed my chance to see him one more time.Oifman, Leonid and Rosaliy July 2013 (Small)

At the end of February we went to visit Leonid and Rosaliya.  We arrived to find Rosaliya nervous and upset.  Leonid had just gone to the hospital two hours before.  She told us Leonid was objecting to leave for the hospital before I arrived. He was upset he would miss me. It is true we had not seen each other for some time and I too was disappointed to miss him.  However, we were all assured Leonid had a similar problem before and would be home soon.  We stayed with Rosaliya and comforted her.

Leonid did not return.  He and I did not see one another again. It is a great loss for many.   When a Survivor dies, who does it affect?  For Leonid…

  • His wife of over 65 years, Rosaliya
  • His sons and grandchildren and great-grandchildren
  • His friend from the ghetto who lived in the same building, who sat and visited him quite often
  • His doctor friend, also from the Holocaust, who lived above him
  • His domino partners who will miss the hard slap of the dominoes by Leonid’s hand
  • His friends in the Survivor Association
  • His friends like me who has known and loved him for the last 12 years
  • His Adopter who established a close relationship with the couple; they have been writing to one another and sending gifts.  He loved the letters…
  • The World who has lost another Holocaust Survivor, another witness to the atrocities of WWII; another man with a gentle spirit and a forgiving heart.

Every 30 minutes another Survivor is gone…

I will miss his bear hug and his tears.  The air in Israel is a bit less sweet today.

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