I began writing this last night, when my stepfather Tibor was still alive, albeit just barely.
He passed away this morning after a brief illness, spending his last few nights in a hospital. What began as shortness of breath turned out to be a massive case of pneumonia that now weakened his whole body. At 93 this is not exactly surprising: we don’t live forever and this is how we die.
I decided that I shall not grieve. Instead, I celebrate. I celebrate a life of 93 years, the good life of a good man, who treated me always as though I was his own son.
I celebrate a life that was lived mostly in good health, near perfect health as a matter of fact, except for a few scary moments in the past decade. But he recovered from it all, and up until last week, really, though he had mobility issues, he still looked radiantly healthy, 20 years younger than his true age.
So there will be no 50th wedding anniversary with my Mom in 2024. No 100th birthday party in 2028. So what? The life that he lived is still a very, very good life.
Here are a few pictures.
My Mom and Tibor met in 1974 in the resort that my stepfather managed. This picture is, I believe, from April 1974. The woman standing was the programs manager (“kultúros”) of the resort.
Here’s another, undated picture of Tibor from roughly the same time period:
Tibor and my Mom built a beautiful house in Visegrád. This is Tibor in the living room, around 1990 or so, under a small Christmas tree.
As communism came to an end, it upset the economy in many ways. In his late 50s, Tibor found a new way to earn an income: he bought a pickup truck and offered moving and delivery services.
This was Tibor just last year, when I last saw him in person, a visit to Hungary that now feels miraculous to have happened at all, in the calm before the storm, before the pandemic changed the world:
And now he is gone.
Just yesterday I came across my all time favorite movie quote on Facebook, a quote from Blade Runner:
“All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.“