I only took a carry-on with me to LAX yesterday because going to BlogHer was a last minute decision. The health of my father-in-law, Vartan, was still shaky. He had just started with hospice. I got my boarding pass from the Virgin America machine and went through security. I was about to put my shoes back on, post security, when Sophia called me on the phone. She was crying. Vartan had passed away. 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. The hospice nurse came to pronounce Vartan dead. The nurse was a very caring Filipino who hugged everyone he met. 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. A cancer surgeon in Russia, a chess player, a cook, a cabinet maker; a devoted and patient husband to Fanya. 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. He and Fanya aged 20 years each in less than a year. It was so very sad to watch. I’ve seen and done things I would not have expected to encounter just a year ago. In some ways, I think it is better now that Vartan is in a happier place, with his beloved Fanya. Today is the funeral. 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. I’m sorry and my condolences. God’s peace & comfort w u. You are truly a wonderful person and one of the most caring I ever met.”
This has been one hard year for Sophia. If you want her address or email, contact me at neilochka at yahoo dot com or @neilochka on Twitter.