Saturday, December 26, 2009

up, down and around

oh, what a month it's been.  beginning with thanksgiving and moving forward through my grandma's death, hanukkah, my cousin's bat mitzvah, more hanukkah, christmas eve and christmas, it's been a roller coaster of emotion for the family.  my cousin said it best when he said it's been a month of "let's party!  let's cry!"  we've all been so busy with the celebrations of the season that we really haven't had a chance to process how we all collectively feel about my grandmother.  so, while we were bat-mitzvahing or eating latkes or simply hanging out, just the mention of my grandma sent everyone into tears.  there's been this almost terminal lack of enthusiasm for all these things we've been doing, all the things we were expected to do, and that's really, really out of character for us.  totally and completely awful.  i'm definitely looking forward to some time this coming week to remember her and perhaps handle some of this sadness.

aside from boomerang-ing from one extreme emotion to another for six weeks, the holidays were nice.  it's always fabulous to see my family and, for better or worse, we did see a lot of each other this season.  like i said, there wasn't very much bubbly silliness this year, but it was nice regardless.  (see?  i love me some adjectives, and the best i can do right now is "nice."  that's how bad it is.)

in completely unrelated news, i've gotten pretty obsessed with childbirth lately, which is strange for a few reasons, not the least of which being that 1) i'm not pregnant and 2) i'm not planning on it any time soon.  i'm just very interested in how medicalized the whole thing has become.  my obsession was born (pun intended!) after i got a very suspiciously vague mole biopsy result and after a friend of mine had a horrific birth experience at the end of her perfectly normal pregnancy.  in short, at the moment, i'm very wary of the medical profession and more specifically, how it sometimes scares people into unnecessary medical procedures.  for example, i had a totally normal mole biopsy'd recently, just because i was nervous about it, and the result was more or less normal.  however, no one would say that to me - i guess because they don't want me to sue them - so instead my doctor sat me down for what was the longest twenty seconds of my life to "talk about the results" and despite my repeated questions about what the actual outcome was, she could only say that the recommendation was for me to get yet another incision and biopsy.  and, my friend, who went into normal labor, was given pitocin at the hospital, immediately given an epideral and then had terrible complications as she pushed laying on her back for two hours.  i'm by no means saying that i want to go live in the woods somewhere without advil or antibiotics, but i'm starting to see now that there can be huge health implications with all this unnecessary surgery/intervention flying around.  and, of all the unforeseen future health problems i may have, childbirth would appear to be the most probable - hence, my obsession.

any thoughts?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

to everything...

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.