A Boulder On My Heart

“Only people who are capable of loving strongly can also suffer great sorrow, but this same necessity of loving serves to counteract their grief and heals them.” –Tolstoy

For the last few weeks, I had been very depressed because my favorite and beloved uncle was dying.  He was only 84 and I say “only” since he had so much more to give. My uncle was an historian and researcher and wrote scholarly texts on the Hapsburg Monarch. He was also a very loving and compassionate humane individual who marched during The Civil Rights Movement and spoke out on many injustices. He was a good example of a fully lived life and he was a role model all of my life. He was one of mom’s younger brothers and she is grieving.  I spoke with my aunt today and I think speaking with her and also viewing the extraordinary obituary lifted the weight of the boulder from my heart.

In August, I hope to travel with my daughter and attend a celebration of his life while mom stays home with my husband in attendance for her. 

In a letter passed out to the faculty of the college where my uncle taught and changed the History Dept. forever, a former colleague and friend saw him at a Convocation years ago…  “he was already seated in the front row as I passed, and I looked at his face.  It expressed who he was–a teacher and a scholar. I still see that face today.  For him, this was a calling, and he lived it broadly, both in the academy and out.”  The letter goes onto say, that my uncle’s, “… active commitment to civil rights and social justice was evident to everyone who knew him.”

solomon wank


8 thoughts on “A Boulder On My Heart

  1. Commiserations, Ilene – 84 *is* too young nowadays, especially when the mind outstrips the body and is still alert and intelligent and interested. I hope the celebration of his life brings you some kind of closure.

  2. Oh Ilene, how sad for you, and for your beloved mother. Your tribute to him allowed me to see him as a caring and wonderful man who touched so many people .

  3. I’m so sorry for your loss! He sounds wonderful and the fact that he was a published scholar means that, in a way, he will live forever through his published works. That doesn’t change the way you miss him but I hope it gives some comfort.

    • Oh Jeff, Thanks so much…if I wasn’t so fearful about putting information out there, I would’ve shared my uncle’s obituary for all to see…he was truly amazing and accomplished a lot!!! Thanks again!

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