On Tuesday, Gregg Weisenberg was at his home in Long Beach with his wife, Jean, celebrating the birth last Friday of their baby girl, Kendall Brock Weisenberg.
The baby’s homecoming was a joy for the Weisenberg family and friends. But the celebration was tinged with sadness. On Jan. 29, Weisenberg ‘s 31-year-old son, Brock, a Long Beach High School and college athlete who struggled with addiction for years, died at a local hospital.
Gregg Weisenberg, the son of former State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, said that when he walked into the delivery room at Mercy Hospital in Rockville Centre Friday, he felt “numb.”
“I went in just blank,” said Gregg, 57. “I had been grieving, depressed. But when the baby came out, it was all different. She was beautiful.”
The Weisenbergs have another son, Max.
Gregg Weisenberg acknowledged that it was difficult to make sense of the jumble of emotions he was feeling. On his kitchen table, he keeps a picture of Brock, in a high school wrestling jersey. When he spoke of Brock, he lightly touched the picture.
“I tried tough love,” he said. “It didn’t work. There were many days I wish I had spent with him. If I could take that back, I would.”
Weisenberg is a builder, and like many in his industry, he can be rough-edged, no-nonsense, eschewing emotion. But during an hour-long interview at his home after the birth of his daughter, he sometimes choked up, and a tear came to his eye.
Brock Weisenberg was on life-support for a few days at Mount Sinai South Nassau hospital in Oceanside before he died. A Mass was celebrated at St. Ignatius Martyr Church in Long Beach, and more than 250 people turned out. Gregg Weisenberg delivered a eulogy in which he talked about Brock’s struggles. But he also mentioned that Brock was an All-County star on the LBHS lacrosse team, and he graduated from Essex Community College in Rosedale, Md., where he was an All-American lacrosse player.
Brock, his father said, “was a special kind of kid. He had magnetism to him. He was a tough, rugged kid, but he had a lovable side.”
Harvey Weisenberg, known throughout Long Beach, Nassau County and New York state not only for his work in the State Assembly but also for the charitable and philanthropic activities that have been the focus of his life, took a philosophical view of his grandson’s death and the birth of a new granddaughter.
“God has strange ways,” Weisenberg said. “We’re all in God’s hands. God makes a plan, and everybody has a purpose. I thank God for the 31 years of happiness and love I received from Brock.”
His granddaughter was named Kendall Brock Weisenberg, her middle name in honor of the brother she will never know.
(Correction: The women in the picture was incorrectly identified as Jean. Her name is actually Sogdiana. We apologize for the error.)