I really do believe that everything happens for a reason. And my that’s why, back in the summer, I decided that I would come home for Yom Kippur and to celebrate my baby sister’s 4th birthday instead of coming home for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This was an unusual decision because Rosh Hashanah is traditionally a big family holiday while Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, is more of a personal, individual, reflective holiday.
However, on Saturday morning of being home, when we all were in the kitchen hanging out, my mother received a phone call from my great-grandmother’s nursing home saying that she had been taken to the hospital. My plans for the day changed immediately. My whole family met at the hospital and waited until we could see her.
I think the last time before that that I had been in a hospital, other than for the births of my sisters, was maybe, maybe ten years ago? If that. The last person related to me who died was my great-grandfather in 1992.. or 1993? I was seven or eight and I don’t really remember it happen. The point is that I don’t know how to deal with this sort of thing, although, who does?
When we saw her, she was unconscious and had a breathing tube. She seemed to be in pain. (Hopefully she wasn’t.) We were told that she probably wouldn’t make it through the night, but the next day she was actually doing better… but then they found blood and later, legions, in her brain.
To make the story short, I received the inevitable phone call today while I was out to dinner for my friend’s 21st birthday. I will be going home sometime this week for the funeral. It will be my first one for a family member.
I really believe that the reason that I ended up at home last weekend was to be able to say goodbye to my great-grandmother with my whole family around me.
My great-grandmother was born when the tzars still ruled Russia, she’s seen two World Wars and moved halfway across the globe at the age of eighty-three. She has one son, two granddaughters, and five grandchildren.
“Dream as if you’ll live forever,
Live as if you’ll die today.”