At 3:52PM yesterday, my grandmother Frieda Epstein passed away in her home. Gramma was a truly extraordinary woman, and not for the extreme length of her lifetime (one month short of 101 years). She was the matriarch, the leader of our family. She made things happen.
Gramma and Grampa raised three children in Washington Heights, Manhattan. They lived in an apartment so small, my mother said that she got an F on an assignment describing her place because the teacher didn’t think it was real. In addition, my great-grandmother lived with them. Six people in an apartment unrealistic enough to get an F.
Through hard work, set backs, and successes, they were able to move across town to the new Promised Land, Co-Op City, in the Bronx. Her three kids grew up to be successes in their fields and raise families of their own. Later in life, she became president of the Co-Op City Jewish Center, the last temple in Co-Op. She held this position until she was too sick to keep it anymore. Without her, the temple closed down.
My gramma has been sick for a while. She’s been in a lot of pain. So while I mourn for her, I also realize that this is a release and relief. I grieve for my family that now has to go on without her. My gramma is at peace, and Death is much harder for the people left behind.