Another Goodbye, Maybe

Oral History Interview – George Pushkal

The person the New Jersey Department of Military and Militia Affairs is talking about is my grandfather. I found that when I googled his name, and I felt like that description didn’t do his experiences justice. When he talked about about WWII you could see the emotion in his face, how difficult it was for him to recall these events. It wasn’t so simple as everything is spelled out on that page.

He fought very hard, and escaped death far too many times. When he came home he fell in love and was married to my grandmother for 51 years until she died. I was eleven when that happened. Now, at 89 years old, my grandfather is in the hospital with failing kidneys and it looks like he’s not going to make it.

I’m sad about this, and I hope it isn’t painful for him. He wants to be with my grandmother again, but I will miss him a lot. I want to see him, but as I’m working for the first time in two weeks I can’t afford to take the time off if I want to have rent money. My mother said he doesn’t recognize anyone, so maybe it’s better that I don’t see him.

When you google my grandfather’s name, the first link to come up is a professional profile for my father. The second is an obituary for my cousin Joey, a solider who served in Kosovo and Iraq, who committed suicide last year. My grandfather wasn’t the same after that had happened, but I think to a certain extent he understood- they saw similar things in service, and my cousin couldn’t handle it.

I have seen a lot of death these past three years, but I still haven’t seen as much as my grandfather. It’s hard being in this limbo, not knowing what is going to happen to him. I’ll be okay though, mainly because I know he was always okay. It’s nice to have a real hero to look up to, but strange to know someone who has survived so much could be so close to death.

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