Saturday, December 5, 2009
on tuesday, my great-grandma edna died in her sleep at 96 years old. this should, in theory, be the beginning of a glorious celebratory post about how, after living such a long, wonderful life, she left us in most peaceful way possible. we should all be thankful to have known her as long as we all did. we should be at peace with the fact that she's gone.
the truth is, though, the entire family is pretty devastated by her death. in this family of women and the men who love them, she was the matriarch. she was the unspoken head of everything, the queen. she infused all the people i love with the kindness and genuine goodness i associate with my family. she's the reason my great-aunts are two of my closest friends, the reason my grandparents talk to me like we're peers, and most of all, she's why we all put up with each other - we're family. she was responsible for this life i've been so lucky to live and now she's gone and i'm not entirely sure how to handle it.
we went to the funeral yesterday morning early, so we could gather around with my grandparents, my great-aunts, my aunts and uncles and cousins to see my grandma before the service started and, having only seen one other dead body in person before in my life, i can safely say it's the most bizarre, terrible thing to see a person you love that way. she was wearing her favorite sweater and a pearl pin, the same outfit i discovered today as i went through old pictures she wore to my brother's bar mitzvah last year (a discovery which of course made me hysterical). her makeup was done, her nails had been painted since the last time i saw her alive last week. still, though, it wasn't her. her force, her personality, was gone and i don't know how to reconcile that. maybe if i were religious i wouldn't feel so lost about this. as it is, though, my grandma truly was larger than life, so to think that that energy isn't here anymore is insanely difficult.
the last time i saw her healthy, we talked about how much she'd done, how many stories she had to tell, and how she wanted so desperately to tell them. i said, "well, grandma, i'll be back. and i'll bring a pen." to which she replied, hilariously, "is that a threat?"
it was a promise. i'm sorry we didn't have time. i love you.