Maria Krichker – My Grandmother, My Hero

By Julia Feldman

My grandmother, Maria, is 86 year’s young. She has the energy level of someone in her 30s. She has always led an amazing life and I’d like to share one of her life stories.

Maria was born and lived in the Soviet Union–though the Soviet Union had its myriad of problems, the one thing they were pretty good at, was offering equal opportunities to men and women to work their butts off! My grandmother took that opportunity to the extreme–she became a cardiologist and spent a long career working 12-14 hour days and helping as many people as she could.

Because my family is Jewish, although she excelled in school and her practice, she could not get a job within the center of the city where she lived-Kiev. Many would have given up their dreams because of this, but my grandmother pleaded for a job and she was given one–one that was about 2 hours from her home! She accepted, and she spent about the next [8] years making the long trek too and from work, until she was finally permitted to switch to a clinic that was closer to her home. And unlike these days, she couldn’t get in a car and drive the two hours-she had to take 3 modes of transport each way–first a tram, then a bus, then she would walk/hitchhike the rest of the way! It was grueling, but she did it without many complaints-because she loved to help people and she had a tremendous work ethic and sense of pride in her work.

On top of her job, she also had a husband and two little girls to raise, which she also did beautifully.

Today, she continues to apply that work ethic to everything she does-whether it is cleaning her home or helping to give preliminary diagnoses of ailments to her friends that seek out her opinion. She is a real hero to me and our entire family.

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Saying Goodbye

A story about Goggy by Mary O’Loughlin

My grandmother, or Goggy as we called her, knew her time was coming and she was trying to have one-on-one conversations with everyone. We had this great conversation about life, love and the future and we laughed (and sometimes blushed – she had lost her filter years ago). A few days later, she stopped speaking and passed away shortly after that. I will always treasure that last conversation.

If you would like to honor a parent or loved one, we’d love to hear and publish their story. Contact us for more guidelines on what we need.

My Grandmother’s 3-Second Gift

A story about Anna Brennan by Jo-Ann Downey

My grandmother, Anna Brennan, was both tough and soft – in almost equal amounts. Born in 1916, I am sure she experienced a lot in her life. Funny thing though, she never spoke of the past. In fact, I don’t recall her speaking of the future. She lived very much in the present moment. I guess she was “conscious” before it was hip! I often played at my grandmother’s house. She had a basement with a crawlspace which I thought was haunted. I was never too scared because I knew she was always upstairs in the kitchen. Growing up, my grandmother bought me ice cream cones and joyfully prepared the food that I liked – butter and peanut button on toast was a favorite!

My grandmother made me feel special, unique and watched over. When I was 21 years old, my grandmother gave me a 3 second “gift” that changed my life. I was packing up for my senior year in college. I was so excited because I was getting my first apartment. I was working extra hours that summer to buy items such as dishes, sheets and silverware. One day we were talking about my apartment and she said “I want you to have my rocking chair for you first apartment.” Her comment lasted a total of 3 seconds. I knew she really meant it; I knew deep inside of me that she truly wanted me to have the rocking chair.

My grandmother didn’t do anything that she didn’t want to do- and you knew it. Her offer was unconditional. In those 3 seconds, I took in “I want to be with you while you are away, I want to give you something significant, you are going to be great, I want to honor your adulthood and I trust you”. The feelings of self-confidence and support I felt filled every cell in my body. I believe my life was forever changed in those 3 seconds. Thank you Anna Brennan, my maternal grandmother.

If you would like to honor a parent or loved one, we’d love to hear and publish their story. Contact us for more guidelines on what we need.