I only took a carry-on with me to LAX yesterday because going to BlogHer was a last minute decision.Â The health of my father-in-law, Vartan, was still shaky.Â He had just started with hospice.Â Â I got my boarding pass from the Virgin America machine and went through security.Â I was about to put my shoes back on, post security, when Sophia called me on the phone.Â She was crying.Â Vartan had passed away.Â Â Sophia, who had dropped me off at the airport no longer than ten minutes ago, returned to pick me up. We drove to her parents’ home.Â Â The hospice nurse came to pronounce Vartan dead.Â Â The nurse was a very caring Filipino who hugged everyone he met.Â Â Soon after, the same sober-looking, deep-voiced guy from the funeral home who came to pick up Sophia’s mother just a month and a half ago, now came for Vartan.
The caregiver, who only knew him a short time, was in tears.
Vartan was an uber-impressive man.Â A cancer surgeon in Russia, a chess player, a cook, a cabinet maker; a devoted and patient husband to Fanya.Â I bonded with Vartan in ways I didn’t with Fanya — we both had to deal with “dramatic women,” as wives, and we frequently gave each other knowing glances.
The last seven months have been a slow and painful decline for Vartan.Â He and Fanya aged 20 years each in less than a year.Â It was so very sad to watch.Â I’ve seen and done things I would not have expected to encounter just a year ago.Â In some ways, I think it is better now that Vartan is in a happier place, with his beloved Fanya.Â Â Today is the funeral.Â Vartan and Fanya will be buried in the same plot of land.
Sophia has now lost both parents in a short amount of time. The hospice MD sent Sophia this SMS: Tried to call you.Â I’m sorry and my condolences.Â God’s peace & comfort w u.Â You are truly a wonderful person and one of the most caring I ever met.”
This has been one hard year for Sophia.Â If you want her address or email, contact me at neilochka at yahoo dot com or @neilochka on Twitter.