Monday, June 25, 2007

My Grandma

I don't know why I am posting this. Maybe it's cause I am at work, and I have no energy for anything else, so I might as well write. It has been a hard couple of weeks. My grandmother in Israel has been very ill with a high fever. In February, she had surgery to remove cancer from her liver. They removed most of it, but there were some specs of it still on the liver that they could not remove. At her age, any more surgery would make matters worse. So, as I was saying these last couples of weeks have been hard because the fever and sickness caused her to slip into unconsciousness She has been on morphin and an IV was the only way she was able to give her body any nutrients.

So last night was my sister’s bat mitzvah party. It was beautiful. Everyone was happy, dancing and eating. My parents had a slide show made, and one of the pictures was that of my sister at about age 10 meeting my grandparents in Israel for the first time. I couldn’t help but shed some tears thinking how sick my grandmother is. A picture like that is worth so much. Looking at ones grandparents, you are at awe at the connection with the past. That you are here due to them. I was glad to see my father dance and smile. My parents didn’t know what to do. Should they cancel the bat mitzvah or go ahead with it. My dad decided that we should go along with it, and to be hopeful that everthing would be fine, even though we all knew it was only a matter of time. I guess you have to continue with your life right? She was not dead and canceling it was probably the wrong thing to do. My dad really wanted my sister to have her day. What would have happened if my grandmother passed away that very day? I don’t know. We thought about it, but we just had to continue.

My dad is flying today. He wanted to fly right after the bat mitvah, but noon today was the earliest ticket my mom could find him. It’s 11:30AM and I get a call on my cell phone from Israel. Its my cousin. She died.

My cousin asked me whether my dad took off already and I said that he is probably still at the gate. He wanted us to decide whether or not to tell him. I get a call from my mom. She is downstairs in front of my work. We cry, and hug. We both decide it is better that we not tell him. What good would it do? He has a very long, lonely flight till he gets to Israel. Its noon and he calls my mom to tell him he has not boarded yet. She tries to sound normal for the duration of the call.

I remember telling my dad before he left, to tell my grandmother that my four-year old wears the necklace she bought her, every Shabbat. It’s not going to happen now. But one thing is certain; as a final gift to all of us, she gave my sister her day to celebrate.


  1. Oy. I'm so sorry. :(

    Baruch Dayan Ha-Emet.

  2. My grandmother passed away while my mother was on a flight to see her. I lived in the same city as my grandmother and was at the house right after she passed away.

    My mother called from the plane to see how things were, and a cousin handed me the phone and said "You have to tell her now so she knows not to make brachos."

    I had planned to tell her in person when I picked her up at the airport. So I could be there for her when she got the news. Instead, I broke the news to my mother while she was up there on that flight all alone.

    For the same reasons as you wrote, I think it was a big mistake. I wonder how much differently my mother would have dealt with it if I had told her the way I had planned.

    May your family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

  3. May her memory be a blessing. My sincere condolensces.

  4. HH: May you find comfort in the wonderful memories you have of her.

    May your family be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.