I Can Understand Why She Loved it There

My oldest sibling passed away last month.We flew to NY for the wake and funeral. She and her husband moved to Brooklyn after they retired. One may ask. “Why?” It’s not exactly Miami Beach. It’s because this is where they first met and began their lives over 50 years ago. They got married and raised their girls in the burbs, but promise to return when the girls grew up and started their own lives

They purchased a co- op in the heart of hipster- ville (Prospect Park) and did all their favorite things. She joined the quilting club and the community garden where she was the master composter( she said it’s a shitty job, but someone has to do it) He did small paying jobs like theater usher and playing extras in tv shows and movies. They also had a lifetime membership to Lincoln center . Everything they did was in walking distance or a subway ride away . The car was only taken out on weekends to go to the burbs and and visit the grandchildren and siblings.

Once a year, they would take a big trip. One year was a virgin island cruise followed by Hawaii for their 40 th wedding anniversary.

For their 70th birthday, they took a trip to Italy with dear friends. It was shortly after that trip that my sister was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

They ( Memorial Sloan- Kettering )seemed to have caught it early. She underwent surgery and a full round of chemo. All was going well for a year or so when they took their cruise to Alaska.

During the pandemic, nodules starts to show up on the cat scans and she did a few experimental treatments. Things were stable until a tumor formed between her stomach and small intestine.

It prevented her from eating and she began to lose a great deal of weight. Luckily, I got to see her for her 75th birthday. She was frail and connected to many IV tubes. Her mind was as sharp as always. She kept her mind busy with reading and researching my family. I learned more about my fathers side of the family through pictures of my dad, aunt and uncle as small children. It was an automatic history lesson.

She new the end was near and you could tell from her demeanor and actions that she accepted it. She peacefully passed five weeks later.

The morning of the wake, I walked a few blocks and stopped into a market. As I was walking, I took in the shops, homes and people. It truly was a great American melting pot; rich in diversity. Shops were local; some old, some new. There were very few chains. Owners opened the chain lock to begin business and hosed down their front sidewalks.

Parents walked their preschoolers to the Treehouse Montessori school. Some preschoolers rode their scooters and were excited to see their classmates. It was amazing to see little kids in a big city. These are the kids who will grow up resilient with street smarts. Just walking down the streets, I hear more than one language so these kids will be well versed. If you can’t go out and see the world, the world can come to you. When those kids leave the confines of their neighborhood, they’ll be fully prepared.

The people, places and stories. I can understand why she loved it there.

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