Last night I woke up from one of those half-dreams–where you’re not sure if you’re awake or asleep, but probably a little of both. I was thinking about my grandmother and I was filled with sadness. I tried emailed a week an a half ago, but never heard back. She lives all the way down in Florida and though we used to see them when they would come to visit my parents two or three times a year, I’ve never been able to make it down there. The daunting task of taking off that amount of time, managing to pay for that many plane tickets, and finding a place to stay nearby just never worked out, no matter how badly I wanted it to. She hasn’t been able to visit in about two years because her health so bad so I miss her a lot.
I thought to myself that I hate how when someone gets older it’s only then that you realize that you should have said much more… or done something more… and then suddenly a feeling came over me that it was just too late. I would never get to write down all the stories my grandmother used to tell me. I wanted to save something of her for my future. And in my sleep I started to cry and then I slept fitfully for several hours, promising myself I would call and check on her in the morning.
When I woke up this morning my father told me she died last night. I wasn’t surprised, considering. Just sad.
I know she was old. I know she was sick. I know she was my step-grandmother, but I’m so sad. I know she lived a good life, but I loved her so much. And I’ve already lost so much of my family the last several years. My grandfather, three great aunts, my aunt who was like a second mother, my favourite uncle, two cousins, both biological grandmothers and now her. Everyone one of them hurts. Sometimes when my phone rings my heart seizes up for a moment.
She wasn’t Jewish so I never know how to tell my friends when one of my non-Jewish family members die. For some reason I find it awkward. I guess that the view on death and how to handle the death of a loved one is so vastly different in Jewish circles than it is in the rest of the world. I asked my Rabbi if there is something special I should say or do and he told me just to offer words of consolation. I have to be honest, it seems so petty considering all we do when a Jewish loved one dies.
When my cousin died last year I wrote a tribute to him. Well really it was more a story of his funeral. Sounds weird, maybe. But it was very healing and I feel like he would have appreciated it. Since I wont likely be able to attend this funeral and since I haven’t spoken with her in a few weeks I feel disconnected.
All I can really think is that I cannot imagine how my grandfather will survive without her. And that makes me the saddest of all.