Celebrating a Life Less Known
This past Friday, the 13th – just past midnight – my mother-in-law’s husband passed away.
Frank was 88 years old and married to my mother-in-law for 10 years. Obviously, he wasn’t my husband’s father. John Goldsworthy died in 1989 at the too young age of 56. After mourning for many years, my mother-in-law Saralyn decided to re-enter the dating pool and not long after met Frank.
Frank was born in Czechoslovakia in 1924 and was a vibrant man who liked to dance and travel. His wife had died just a couple of years before he met Saralyn and with her love of travel and dance, they were well suited.
Not long after they married, Frank and Saralyn moved to a planned living community in Camarillo. They had fun over the years, traveling the world and visiting the Chumash Casino on occasion. Celebrating his heritage, Frank was an active member of the Bavarian Club located in North Hollywood, and he and Saralyn would frequently enjoy Club-related activities.
Due to their move, we didn’t get the chance to see them as often as we would have liked and weren’t able to have as full a relationship as we all would have enjoyed. But to my kids, Frank was the only grandfather they knew.
I’m sure that for many families who welcome a new member, either due to divorce or death, it’s an adjustment for all. For Frank it was an especially big adjustment.
Frank had no family in the United States – his sisters live in Germany. The Goldsworthy clan, on the other hand, is not only rather large, but with many of us still living in the foothills area, family gatherings were generally well attended. Frank was resilient when taking us all on. Remembering all our names at family gatherings was a feat in itself! But he always seemed pleased to be surrounded by all of us and enjoyed spending time talking with the grandkids and great-grandkids.
In the last few years, his health declined. Long distance traveling was curtailed and Saralyn and Frank chose to spend time closer to home.
On Easter, we packed up the holiday dinner and headed to Camarillo. By this point Frank was bed-bound and hadn’t really said much for the last few days. It delighted us all when we wished him a Happy Easter he responded with gusto, “Happy Easter! Happy Easter!”
A few days later, he passed quietly at home with Saralyn nearby.
His service is tomorrow, Friday, and you can bet we’ll all be there to bid him good-bye.