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16 April 2008 @ 12:23 pm
Goodbye to You ~ R.I.P. Grandma  

Lately, I've been really busy because I have two and half weeks left of my final semester and I need to finish my thesis and two research papers. Yay, 55 pages! Some of you might remember I was in a similar situation last semester and as a result developed Carpal Tunnal. That was fun... So I'll try to be good to myself, not overtax my poor wee wrist, wear my brace, and keep the naproxen on hand if any inflammation starts up. As such, I'll mostly not be around for the next few weeks. I've seen some awesome fics and manips I'd love to review, but those are going to have to wait a bit. Apologies for delays on answering comments, as well. I'll get to everyone's response to my What is Romance? post shortly. For those who didn't see it, but would like to throw in their two cents, please do! 

Because I didn't post yesterday, happy belated birthday to shapinglight. You're wonderful Deb and I hope you had a blast with the S and whoever else you may have celebrated with. 

My business trip went well this weekend. Overall, the show was very slow, but I had a great time in the evenings. Saturday night after set-up, my co-worker and I went to a Spanish restaurant and watched a live flamenco performance. The Columbian was located in a part of Tampa called Ybor City, and lemme tell you, this place was jumpin' on Saturday night! The hot spot is 7th Ave. and it's probably the equivalent of 20 blocks worth of back to back bars and clubs. When we were walking the streets it also became increasingly apparent how different people dress in FL. We were all in black in our skinny jeans and boots. The girls running around down there were in hot pants and tub tops. We passed one particular street corner and I muttered to my co-worker that I couldn't tell if this was their club gear or if the girls were hookers. Kinda wild, but fun. 

Sunday evening we met up with another vendor from New York and hung with him. He actually reminded me a lot of jdkitchen, who I should totally call because it's been about two months since we've chilled. We hit a Mexican restaurant in Channelside, which was dreadful and our waitress was an utter bimbo, and then went to this dueling piano bar like in Roger Rabbit called Howl at the Moon, but the place was closed! Thinking we'd find some action in Ybor City, we took a shuttle there would where it had been bumpin' the night before, it was dead as a doornail and utterly deserted. The only places open were the gay bars and clubs, so that's where we went and had a few drinks. The bar we were in just finished a drag show, so we were chatting to thses half dressed drag queen standing around with wigs in their hands. When we played out that scene, we came across another gay club that actively had a drag show on .These were the fattest, oldest drag queens I've ever seen, and I've seen a lot between New York and Provincetown. Also, their costumes were ancient, but it was a lot of fun. As the night wore on and there were barely any people, I got up and danced with a go go boys on their little platforms and stuffed some dollar bills down their undies cause I'm pimp like that. Danced with a few big bootied girls as well and our fellow vendor from NYC. Last call was midnight (seriously, wtf?), so we shuffled off to the only place that seemed to be open: another bar with a guy singing live accompanied by an accoustic guitar. We requested a few songs, so he closed off his set with John Mayer, Phish, the Beatles, and a few other dudes. The trip was a lot of fun, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I got paid! 

I haven't had much time to type it all up here, but last Monday (April 7th) my grandmother passed away. It was around 6PM in the evening, I had just gotten off the train and was walking home from work when I got the call from my mom. The Thursday before that (the 3rd), I had gone straight to the hospital after work to meet my parents there who were keeping a vigil over her. She had a D&R, so she was heavily sedated to keep her comfortable. Her lungs started to fill with fluid, so they were keeping her as comfortable as possible. I was there from 7PM - 3AM in the morning. They said she had a few days, so we just waited. That evening at around midnight a young rabbi who was a student of my best friend's father that he recomended came to the hospital to talk to us. The day before when my grandmother was still coherant, he had talked and prayed with her. Together, we recounted memories of her and he asked that each of us address her personally. My dad went first and crying heavily said to her that she had given him a second chance to be a better son than he had been to his own mother. My paternal grandmother died in July and you can read about HERE how different my relationship was with her. Anyway, grandma used to call my dad son; she loved him so. And his beautifully touching feelings for her made me cry. I went next and told her how many similaities we had in common, how I was a lover of the arts, how honest and true and open she had always been with me. And, most of all, how proud she was of my accomplishments, how much she always wanted to there and be involved. Alex, the rabbi, sang a few prayers, and I asked him if he there was anything about trees, since she always used to talk about wanting to be reincarnated as a tree. His eyebrows rose, but he quickly flipped through the Bible and found this beautiful passage that was so fitting about the strength and roots of trees that I totally bawled even more. By the time 3AM rolled around, I was exhausted and tired. The next day I was too tired and a wreck to make it to work, so I stayed at home and ran some errands. And then it was all over on Monday. 

Because of my business trip that weekend, we had to speed up the memorial and cremation services so that I could attend. Luckily, my grandmother had left very specific instructions about what sort of services she wanted. Ever the hostess, she requested that family and friends convey at her apartment for champagne, lady fingers, and refreshments. She was a classy broad like that. She also asked that she not be eulogized, but remembered and her and my grandfather's life celebrated. Alex ran the ceremony. At least 40 people showed up to remember her, and we all sat crammed into her living room reminiscing about her and what she meant to us. It was beautiful and so wonderful to see how many lives she touched and the sort of love that people had for her and my grandfather. It was inspiring and only wish I can be the same sort of person that she was. Even writing this and remembering the service makes me cry. She would have found it perfect. I closed the evening my relating one of my grandmother's favorite stories: her first date with my grandfather in 1928 on New Year's Eve when she was 12 and he was 17. To her dying day, she called him her sweetheart. My grandfather was best friends and schoolmate of my grandmother's older brother, and when the kids wanted an evening out with their girls, they asked Dolphie to take Stella, the kid sister out and occupy her. So, my grandfather took her to a movie and while they were riding the bus another kid asked if he could take her out. My grandfather got all possessive and told this guy to take a hike, she was his girl. That night they went to Times Square and watched the balldrop. By the time I got to the end of the story, I was crying really hard, but I thought it was a classic Stella and Adolph story to tell. 

Friday morning we had the cremation ceremony. It's not traditional in Jeweish culture to cremate, so Alex did not attend this part. She was not a religious lady and neither am I or my family. But she was spiritual and loved different cultures and religions. So her service consisted of many different religious faiths. I read a favorite poem of hers, a good friend of ours who's an art critic for the New York Times wrote a beautiful piece about her, others read poetry, my uncle read a section from Buddhist philosophy, a friend of hers read the Hebrew mournings coddage, and Gus (who had been rather close to her himself) did a traditional Muslim and Turkish funerary prayer. He stole the show. It was utterly beautiful. And best of all, my grandmother spoke from the grave. Before she had been hospitalized I asked her if she would write a final farewell piece to her audience/readership. I thought it was classy, like a "I'm signing off the air" sort of address. My mother read her final letter where she made reference to her family, Gus and myself, and her decision to want to die and be with Dolphie. It was a wonderful piece and it was hers. We put beautiful lillies on her casket and my father escorted her down to the crematorium. Outside, the rest of us visited the section of the stone wall that she would be interred in with my grandfathers ashes. I don't think I will ever go to another funeral service quite like it. It was beautiful, inspiring, and cathartic. We mourned her, but we celebrated her and that was the most important thing. 

I think what I'll miss most of all about her if talking to her, discussing my life and my day. But as Gus told me, "Save up what you have to say. When you see her next, you'll have an entire lifetime of stories to share with her." 

I love you grandma. We'll miss you.
 
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Sevvysevvy_o on April 16th, 2008 08:52 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I am so sorry to hear about your grandmother!! The ceremony sounds like it was really beautiful. Let me know if there's anything I can do.
ClawofCat: hugsclawofcat on April 16th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Sevvy. *hugs*
The Anti-OTPsnowpuppies on April 16th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
I think what I'll miss most of all about her if talking to her, discussing my life and my day.

Oh, honey. *hugs* Me, too.

I'm so sorry. I know she was special to you.

*squish*

It totally sucks to be dealing with this while having so much schoolwork to do, and you've been so sweet to help me with my fic, which is totally inconsequential to all this (although I understand the value of a distraction). So don't worry about comments or anything. They'll all be here when you get time.

ClawofCat: buffy hurtsclawofcat on April 17th, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
Thanks, Snowy. I know you can relate to this. I'm working on getting some extensions well ahead of time so I can give myself some breathing room. All I really want to do is write an angsty Spike/Dawn piece that came to me the other day though. Bah...
louise39: sunlight through treeslouise39 on April 16th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
Condolences on the death of your grandmother. She sounds like a special lady and you had a memorable leave taking.
::hugs::
ClawofCat: faith downcastclawofcat on April 17th, 2008 01:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks, hun. *hugs back*
slaymesoftlyslaymesoftly on April 17th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
*hugs you tight* You have some wonderful memories of her life and you had a chance to say "good-bye". As the grief fades, those things will be important to you.
ClawofCat: glancesclawofcat on April 17th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think the closure part was the most important. I didn't feel as though there was anything left unsaid. We had a very full goodbye. And I will remember her fondly and often. She was an inspiration to me.
mere ubu: s/b touchedmere_ubu on April 17th, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)
Oh sweetpea, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandmother! I know she will be terribly missed. It sounds like a beautiful service that you all had for her; we should all get to go out with so much dignity and love.

Ever the hostess, she requested that family and friends convey at her apartment for champagne, lady fingers, and refreshments. She was a classy broad like that.

This really got to me. What a great lady.*huge hugs* Take good care of you. . . just a little more semester to go.
ClawofCat: hugsclawofcat on April 17th, 2008 01:23 pm (UTC)
*clings* Your comments always put me at ease. You know just what to say. Z is a lucky girl to have you for a mom. Maybe one day, when she's much older, has some perspective, and can put the ego aside (cause all kids think of themselves), she'll be able to tell you how much she appreciates everything you've done for her. This entire experience of grandmothers, mothers, and daughters definately made me realize what I had and how much they invested in me.

For the week or so that she was in the hospital, there was someone with her nearly all the time. My mom slept there every night and wouldn't leave her side except for short periods of time. The nurses often commented that they don't often see that sort of familial devotion. But that was the sort of lady she was - one that you didn't want to let down and that cultivated love like flowers in a field. It just sprung up around her.
mere ubu: spike buffy floodedmere_ubu on April 17th, 2008 02:17 pm (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you, dear. I probably won't hear it again until she reaches adulthood, but one night at dinner when she was four, Z. looked up from her plate and said, "You know what? You guys are doing a good job with me. You're the just-right parents for me. Thanks." Mouths of babes. :)

"Cultivated love like flowers in a field." You have such a beautiful way of putting things. Good luck with your busy week.
missus_grace: comfortmissus_grace on April 17th, 2008 06:42 am (UTC)
What a wonderful story about your grandparents! That's how we keep them alive...remembering their stories and talking about them always.

My sympathy to you and for family on the loss of this beloved woman.
ClawofCat: fangel wisdomclawofcat on April 17th, 2008 01:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. It was pretty incredible to hear little stories that each person in that room had to tell about her. Some of them I had heard, many I hadn't. It's sort of bewildering thinking about how many lives one person can touch in a lifetime and all the stories of personal connection or meaning that you will never get to hear.
framedinlove: portrait iconframedinlove on April 17th, 2008 02:59 pm (UTC)
*sits still for a long long while staring into space weeping silently*

I'm so sorry for your loss. She must've been such an amazing person - a truly beautiful soul! I'm in awe of her and you and your family. The closeness, the love ever so present - it's so very rare. And the way you speak about her with such great dignity - I love you for loving her so! Just knowing about the journey and love you shared - knowing that there truly are people so graceful - it fills my soul with something bright and pure. I wish you and your family strength in your time of mourning!
ClawofCat: family funclawofcat on April 19th, 2008 06:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your touching comment, hon. And she was an amazing person. I feel very lucky to have known her and had her with me as long as I did. She was my oldest and last surviving grandparent.

I'm in awe of her and you and your family. The closeness
We're pretty tiny. It's just me and my parents. My mom is an only and my dad has one sister with no children. If we didn't love each other, than who? It also helps that my parents are great and supportive.
Cordykitten: seductivembrace  cordykitten JM ^_^cordykitten on April 17th, 2008 08:12 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear that your grandmother died. Reading this made me weepy too, just like it happens if you're attend a funeral.
At last you have happy memories of her.
ClawofCatclawofcat on April 19th, 2008 06:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your condolences. And I do have very happy memories of her. She was a wonderful lady.
Shapinglightshapinglight on April 19th, 2008 04:59 pm (UTC)
First of all, thank you for your birthday wishes and best of luck with your exams.

Secondly, I'm so sorry to read about your grandmother. She sounds like a wonderful lady and I'm glad the funeral and remembrance went the way you all - and she - would have wanted. Also, thank you for sharing your memories of her with us. I appreciate that enormously.

:Hugs:
ClawofCatclawofcat on April 19th, 2008 06:56 pm (UTC)
thank you for your birthday wishes and best of luck with your exams
You're welcome! And I shudder in fear at the papers I have to write. I'm going to have to pull a lot of BS on this. I hardly care about the quality at this point. Just that it gets done and I can close this chapter of my life. *Ptui!* to academics.

thank you for sharing your memories of her with us. I appreciate that enormously.
There are so many fond memories about her. At the memorial service, the first story I recounted had to do with her writing and cooking, which I did with her a lot when I was a kid. I opened my recollection with, "Stella was probably best known for two things: her storytelling and her cooking. For anyone who knows me, one of those skills stuck and the other didn't." That got a lot of laughs, but I owe her a lot. She passed on many great things to me, and I'm thankful for it.
Shapinglightshapinglight on April 19th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
I think it's wonderful that your memories of her are so positive. Often, when people are elderly, things don't turn out quite that way.

I'm sure you'll be fine in your exams.

:Wafts positive thoughts your way: