This past Monday was the sixth anniversary of my husband’s heart attack. On that day, just like every year, we go back to the hospital where he was saved. We eat a meal in the cafeteria, walk past the room where he recovered, and sit in the garden where we planned the rest of our lives.
It’s a happy ritual. But I was sad this time too, because I was reminded that ultimately, we will be separated by death.
On Monday, I also read the New York Times obituary of handbag designer Judith Leiber. Her unique handbags are favored by first ladies and celebrities and are in the permanent collections of the Chicago Historical Society, Smithsonian Institution, and Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Judith was born in Hungary. During World War II, her family narrowly survived the Nazi occupation of Budapest. Part of this was due to her non-Jewish father, who obtained a pass for himself and added the words “and family,” on the same typewriter used to issue the pass.
In Budapest Judith met Gus, an U.S. Army Signal Corps sergeant. They married in 1946 and moved to New York City. While Judith worked on her handbag business, Gus became a painter and sculptor.
Their marriage spanned 72 years.
Gus, aged 96, died this past Saturday of a heart attack. Just hours after his death, Judith, aged 97, also died of a heart attack.
They were buried together this past Monday.