I just want to share with all of you what a great human being he
was. In the world scheme, he was just a cute little old man with an overabundance
of energy and joy. For Latvia, he was the repository of so much information,
knowledge, and wisdom. But for humanity, he was one of those beacons of
light that we all gravitate towards.
Before the second world war, he had studied to be a lawyer. During
the war, he worked first as a teacher in the countryside, and then as a
war correspondent. (The Latvians were allied with the Germans.) He witnessed
Hitler speaking at a rally in Berlin in 1939. He had a lot of interactions
with the literati of Latvia at the time, as well as the politicians.
At the end of the war, my grandmother escaped to America with the
children, while he was sent to Siberia. He spent one and a half years in
Siberia laying railroad tracks. He was one of those people in concentration
camps who give the other prisoners reasons for staying alive and focused
(like Viktor Frankl, if you've ever read "Man's Search for Meaning"). He
would trade his cigarette rations with the guards for bits and pieces of
newspaper. He would read and analyze these pieces, and give updates on
the status of world events to the others in his barracks. He would have
everyone close their eyes and would recount plots of movies scene by scene,
so everyone could relive a favorite movie or see a new one when it got
dark and cold. On Sundays, he would perform religious services for everyone,
making it as non-denominational as possible. By a series of lucky circumstances
(yeah, right!), he was released and sent back to Latvia.
In Latvia, he was now a non-person having been in Siberia. He spent
the next couple of decades working back from this status. He invented a
shorthand for blind people. He built a duplex from scratch by saving materials
over a matter of years, once he got a plot of land from the government.
One night, he had a dream. He was standing in a field that was surrounded
by a tall dark fence. He felt that this was a symbol for Latvia in the
Soviet Union. Suddenly, a light appeared before him and materialized as
Jesus Christ. Jesus stretched out his hands showing a light in his hands.
He gave this to my grandfather and said, "I am giving you the Latvian language
to save." My grandfather understood this to mean that he was to use his
talents (knowing 11 languages!) to create an etymology of Latvian, as well
as to do as much as he could in terms of analyzing the language, since
there was probably not going to be any one else who could do it justice.
He wrote a comprehensive etymological dictionary of the language,
and published it. I think he even completed a second volume in the past
few years which is on the way to being published. He published countless
(thousands, I would wager) articles on words, literature, Latvian writers
of the time when Latvia was independent between the wars, and spoke another
countless times to groups of people, on television, etc, about the same.
In the last few years, he had become quite famous among learned people
for all of this...
Now, for any other mortal human being, this would have been enough.
But not for my grandfather.
Around the age of 21, my grandfather realized that he had a gift
in his hands. He was able to feel energy moving in lamps, make doorbells
ring if he walked to close, and the ability to heal others. For the next
60 years, he worked on thousands of people, waving his warm and youthful-looking
(!) hands above the afflicted areas, or touching and stroking the skin
above those areas. People would come from the countryside with only eggs
or milk or produce to pay him for his services. He scheduled every day
very carefully with a balance between the healing touch sessions and the
writing at the desk. He would also perform distance healing sessions for
members of our family and friends.
But that's not all! This man would always answer every letter that
he received, in carefully penned hand, and go to almost every lecture where
he had been invited to speak (rivetingly, with humor), to the chagrin of
his wife who saw how he became weak from all the giving. But he kept on
His garden was a sight to behold. The strawberries every summer were
huge and succulent. There are no better strawberries than my grandfather's.
His dahlias were tall and beautiful. The paths between the flower beds
were always neat and orderly.
Every day he rose at 6 AM, had a conversation with his two huge German
Shepherds for about 15 minutes (can't sleep through that!), took them outside
to throw logs for them to catch while doing deep knee bends and calisthenics
with small hand weights to keep the energy flowing to his hands, started
the morning coal fire that heated both the house and the water for the
morning baths. Every night, he would clean out the coal stove so that the
next morning it would be ready for him to light again.
A few years ago, he broke his neck in a freak accident on a slippery
porch (he was sweeping leaves), went inside and called the ambulance. For
a few months he wore a brace and turned from side to side to see. Broke
his neck! At 70-something and lived to tell the tale!
Things like that were always happening to him.
On his 80th birthday, the President of Latvia sent his personal car
to give my grandfather his birthday greetings message.
Everyone my grandfather met was fascinated by this little, energetic,
funny, passionate old man! When he came to America once, I had the opportunity
to spend a couple of days driving him around the Midwest where he had invitations
to visit old and new (!) friends... I'll never forget that time. I had
total access to his stories of the past and present, by myself, just me
The summer of 1989 I also had the opportunity to live with him for
3 months. We developed a more normal grandfather-granddaughter relationship.
There were a few issues we didn't agree on, but when you got right down
to it, he was a great, great person and I enjoyed talking to him and interacting
with him every time...
Today, I feel as though he hasn't really gone any place far away.
That may just be a function of his living in Latvia and being far away
always, but I don't think so. I just have this feeling that he's really
closer to me now that he has ever been and that he'll be there, right around
the corner, any time that I desire to conjure him up. And that he's thinking
of us and realizing that he can still help us from the other side. Actually,
I think he's probably having a great time right now, free of pain and having
access to the secrets of reality, which he already had before, but now
he can use his great brain to work with those secrets.
Thanks for letting me put this down on paper! I'm not really sad
as much as I am peaceful knowing that he doesn't need to feel pain anymore
and that he can get on with whatever development he wants to deal with