Wednesday, September 22, 2010


  If you believe that the Universe works purposefully then you know that people come into our lives for a reason.  We learn things, some big and some tiny, from everyone we encounter in our existence.  Someone may expose you to a band you've never heard before.  Another person might teach you how to hula hoop.  And then there are the truly special ones.  We know who they are because when you're in their presence they make you feel like a million bucks.  When you see them in pictures you can't help but smile.  And, most importantly, as you get older their importance to you continues to grow.
  For me, one of those truly special souls was my sensational Grandma, Tillie Futernick.  The light of my life.  The anchor of our family.  A woman so tough and proud to be who she was that she never shied away from expressing her feelings, a less than popular trait in the Futernick clan.  A vivacious spirit, she laughed just as much as she cried.  Even if it meant being the butt of our family's jokes, she was never afraid to be touched by the beauty of life.  Never too proud to bawl her eyes out, simply because our family had gotten together for Sunday afternoon pizza in her small Brooklyn apartment.    
  Oh and she was slick, too.  She often came with us on our summer vacations and she always pretended to be frail to get a good seat or get special treatment.  "I'm an old lady," she would announce, followed by a subtle wink.  Grandma Tills knew how to work the system.  She needed no special treatment, though.  We were in London and she tripped and fell on her face in front of a pub.  She was cut up and bleeding and at 80 years old she exclaimed "they're gonna think I'm ferschnoshked," the Yiddish word for "drunk."
  Her husband, my Grandfather, who passed away a year before I was born, was the original David namesake.  And because of this we always had an extra special bond.  I think she saw me as a blessing that had arisen from her husband's untimely death.  A ray of light that "Dapper Dave, "as they called him, had left in his tracks.  
  Grandma Tillie was a few months shy of her 95th birthday when she passed away peacefully late Tuesday night.  People would always ask her what her secret was for living such a long, healthy life.  If I had to guess I would say that she was comfortable being herself and grateful for the life she was given.  These things added up to complete and utter happiness.  A product of The Depression, she would always say things like "I'm a rich woman."  Tillie Futernick could see what mattered most in life.  I will always feel blessed to be a part of her riches.


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