Saying goodbye

7 Feb

Holy Virgin Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Today, I am going to drive to San Francisco — a beautiful, nearly 2 hour drive — to say goodbye to my step-grandfather. It will be a long day. My step-father, Igor, is — as one might gather from his name — of Russian descent. My grandfather was born in Russia and his family fled the Revolution and went to Japan. He was raised there and went to Japanese schools. He met and married my grandmother there. She also had fled Russia with her family and went to Japan. She, however, went to French Convent School. They were unable to leave Japan prior to WWII and afterwards it wasn’t easy for a while. Eventually, they were able to go to Chile. They had their two sons there, Oleg and Igor. When the boys were still quite young, they came to the United States. They were briefly in Monterey, California and then settled in San Francisco. There is a thriving Russian community in SF — well, let’s face it — SF has LOTS of thriving communities.

My grandfather died on Sunday. He would have been 94 in April. For most people, that is a long life, filled with change. But, more so, I think, for my grandfather. I am just amazed at the languages he spoke — Russian, Japanese, Spanish, and English.

The picture above shows the view down Geary Street towards the ocean. The spectacular golden onion dome is the Holy Virgin Cathedral. This is my grandparents’ church. They are Russian Orthodox and I’ll be saying goodbye inside the church tomorrow. It will be a long day. Which seems fitting, I suppose.

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10 Responses to “Saying goodbye”

  1. Miz S 7 February, 2008 at 3:08 am #

    He sounds remarkable. Have a safe drive and enjoy seeing your family.

  2. NatureWoman 7 February, 2008 at 3:25 am #

    Oh, I’m so sorry Liza. I’ll be thinking about you. It’s always so hard to say goodbye to a loved one. . .

  3. jayne 7 February, 2008 at 3:56 am #

    May warmth and peace surround you and your family Liza. A long life indeed….

  4. Bobbie 7 February, 2008 at 5:06 am #

    From what you say, your grandfather has lived a long, and very full life, spent in some of the most beautiful parts of this world of ours. Despite the fact that those left behind must grieve, I hope that he knew it was time to go and was content.
    I too wish you peace.

  5. amarkonmywall 7 February, 2008 at 5:26 am #

    Drive safely and take in every color and mood of the day. He does sound like a pretty amazing person, in that way that some people have to be just to go on. And then they have these special legacies that are rich with memories. Take good care.

  6. robin andrea 7 February, 2008 at 8:16 am #

    I am sorry for your loss, Liza. Your step-grandfather does sound like a remarkable man with quite a history. A long life, well lived.

  7. Trixie 7 February, 2008 at 10:35 am #

    A remarkable life living on through you and your family.

  8. Wende 7 February, 2008 at 11:36 am #

    You’re in my thoughts, Liza Lee.

  9. mary 7 February, 2008 at 6:37 pm #

    A man who lived a full life, no doubt. Sorry, Liza. I’ll be thinking of you.

  10. Draftnik 8 February, 2008 at 5:41 am #

    Thoughts and prayers to you and family.

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