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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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ClawofCat: hugsclawofcat on April 16th, 2008 11:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Sevvy. *hugs*