Zeidy Gluck z'l, my father, was the epitome of a 'zeesa', erlicha, beloved, person. He was unassuming in his ways, but his impact was deep. He was as humble as Har Sinai, but his greatness towered above Everest. His middos were impeccable and his G-d - fearing ways were testimony to his sterling character.
From the early days after Moishey's birth, Zeidy Gluck came through with flying colors.
During my pregnancy, I told my father z'l that if the baby I was carrying was a boy, then we would name him after my father's father, Moshe, who died al Kiddush Hashem in the flames of the Holocaust. Because of family logistics, too complicated and lengthy to explain here, my father had never had a son nor grandson named after his father, and this baby, if indeed a boy, would be the first 'Moshe' in the family. My father was ecstatic! Sure enough, when Moishey was born, the simcha was that much more magnified for my Tati z'l. And then the crushing news….this new baby has Down syndrome. I very gently asked my father if he wanted to wait and rather give this very special name "Moshe" to a more 'perfect' child in the future. My father looked at me very reassuringly and told me, "In the zchus of having such a holy name of such a holy zeidy, this baby will Im Yirtzeh Hashem do better than expected!" We named the baby 'Moshe'. Zeidy Gluck's bracha has surely become true.
As crushing as Moishey's diagnosis was shortly after birth, Zeidy never wavered in his total devotion, support, and acceptance. Our child was his child and if we loved, he loved.
Zeidy loved Moishey with a passion. They shared a unique sense of humor and they had their own joke language. They were both so 'punny' and their conversations often had us rolling with laughter.
Zeidy took tremendous pride in Moishey and often credited him with much more than Moishey was actually capable of. Numerous times we had to whisper to Zeidy that the vort that he was telling Moishey at the Shabbos or Yom Tov table was too complicated and went right over Moishey's head. Zeidy wouldn't accept it; he'd say, "You just think he doesn't understand. He understands it better than the rest of us, right Moishey?" to which Moishey would nod and Zeidy would say, "You see?! I told you!!"
Moishey had a special kesher with Zeidy. Moishey would be the one pushing in the chair under Zeidy when Zeidy would finish reciting Kiddush; Moishey would gently hold Zeidy's arm and walk him home after the Shabbos and Yom Tov meals that Zeidy ate with us since Bubby's a'h petirah.
When Zeidy stayed over at our home on Shabbos and Yom Tov because of inclement weather, Moishey gladly gave his bedroom over to Zeidy and Moishey slept on a mattress on the floor in our home office. Zeidy always felt guilty for displacing Moishey.
As Zeidy clung to life a year ago, Moishey stormed the heavens with his prayers, and when the 'malach hamovos' won over, Moishey grieved, then started to speak very enthusiastically about the coming of Moshiach and ultimately 'techiyos hamaysim'.
With his maternal grandparents both in Gan Eden, Moishey continues to daven, learn mishnayos and say tehillim for their neshamos. May they be maylitzay yeshorim for their Moishe'la whom they loved so, so dearly.
This article first appeared in issue #13 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us