On Saturday, February 24th my grandmother finally succombed to old age and died from organ failure. Most likely as you read this I am already heading towards New York, where her funeral will be held. She was a very resolute and strong woman and will be best known for sewing together a family of three children and five grandchildren from my grandfather's side and two children and five grandchildren from her side into one unified family - where everyone was on equal footing regardless of family origin.
She was always a fighter - having fought off cancer for the last fifteen years. The joke was always that she was too strong for cancer to ever get her - old age would get her way before cancer had its chance. It turned out this was correct - she had several types of cancer but none ever got her.
I am now reminded of some of my favorite thoughts of her. She was a very loving person - there for every one of us. My mother recalls that she arrived for the birth of all ten (of which I was the ninth) grandchildren and helped the mothers always for several days afterwards. Memories that will always live with me are of her preparing breakfast for the over thirty people staying at their Montauk summer house. One of us would ask for scrambled eggs. Another wanted sunny side up. Another wanted hard boiled eggs. She would make one kind and if asked for something else, her answer was always the same.
"If you don't like it, eat <excrement>"
She always stood her ground no matter who she was up against. On one occasion, she had a room taken from the entourage of the president of Singapore because she booked that room and she didn't care that the president of Singapore was staying at that hotel that night with his entourage - she wanted her original room.
On another occasion she was gambling at a casino in an African country and felt that the games were rigged. So she accused them on the spot of cheating her. Unfortunately the casino was owned by the leader (or dictator) of that country and she and my grandfather were thrown out of the country.
She was a one of a kind person and I will always miss her.