Nine years ago, the health of Warren Grifka's elderly mother began to deteriorate. Mr. Grifka, a Marsh & McLennan computer specialist who lived with her in Brooklyn, took on her care. 'He'd be up all night with her,' said Bonnie Montellaro, his older sister. 'Then he'd go to work in the morning.'
He quit taking vacations or going out with friends. Mrs. Montellaro said she and Henry, their younger brother, wanted to help or hire round-the-clock help. But Mr. Grifka, 54, would not hear of it, she said. 'His feeling was that this was his job and that was it,' she said.
Last year, Frances Grifka, who had been bedridden and largely unable to communicate for three years, died at 86.
'He was just starting to live again after my mother died,' Mrs. Montellaro said. 'He was back seeing his friends and going to movies.' He went to Florida to see friends and relatives — his first vacation in a decade. An accomplished baker, he spent a Saturday showing a Brooklyn chef how to make his famous cheesecake.
'He was out, which was so nice,' Mrs. Montellaro said. 'Out to dinner at night, out on the weekends. He had just got his life back.'