this last week has been hell for me. i’m so emotionally exhausted and it feels like my family can never catch a break.
tuesday night, my father called me telling me my grandma was quickly deteriorating and that it would be either that night or wednesday that she would pass. i decided that before the snow storm hit the area i would go home and see her. i left school around 1030pm and arrived at the nursing home around 1am. i walked into the room to see her hooked up to oxygen and she was really struggling to breathe. she came down with pneumonia that morning and you could hear the amount of congestion in her lungs as she took each breath. my aunt, uncle, cousin, mom, dad and i were sitting around the room in silence, just watching her take each breath. around 2am my aunt, uncle and cousin left. as they were saying their goodbyes, she was still sleeping but my uncle went over to kiss her goodbye. as he leaned over her, she grabbed his arm. her eyes stayed closed and it seemed like she was still sleeping, but she was fully aware of what was happening around her. it gave us all the chills. they left the room and my mom, dad and i sat around for a while longer. around 3am, she was struggling even harder to breathe. she kept moving her head around and you could see her eyes open a little bit with such a panicked look in them. i looked at my parents with tears streaming down my face and told them i couldn’t look at her anymore and walked out of the room. a few minutes later, my mom and dad walked out saying the nurse was going to suction the congestion out to make it easier for her to breathe. around 310am, my dad walked back into her room to see what was going on and the nurse told him it could be any moment now. he came into the sitting room and told my mom and i what the nurse said and we began to go back to her room.
i walked into the room behind my parents. when i got into the room, the nurse was standing in the way of my view of grandma so i looked around her shoulder and saw the oxygen was taken off and her face was so pale/yellow. at that moment, i knew that she was no longer with us. the nurse was closing her eyes and i broke down. ran out of the room, crying hysterically and didn’t know what to do with myself. i couldn’t walk back into that room. i couldn’t look at her like that. it was hard enough to look at her before she passed, i couldn’t stand to look at her knowing she wasn’t alive anymore. i got home wednesday morning around 5am and slept for maybe two hours. i had too much on my mind. cried all day wednesday and layed around the house. wednesday and thursday were a complete blur for me. all i remember doing was making collages with my cousin on the kitchen floor. friday morning was the funeral. worst experience of my life. not only is a funeral sad enough, but seeing her laying in a casket broke me down even more. it was just my immediate family in there and we stood around and said our final goodbyes and left her with pictures, her favorite stuffed animal and her first engagement ring from grandpa. they closed the casket and then everyone gathered in the room and the service began. with tears streaming down my face and crying hysterically, the service ended and we now had to head to the cemetery. i held myself together but after my uncle picked up the shovel and threw dirt onto the casket, i burst out in tears again. it took a while for me to come around and be able to build up the strength to throw the ground on top of her.
in jewish tradition, family and friends throw a shovel of the dirt on top of the casket before we leave. my uncle refused to leave the grave site before the whole hole was filled up and she was safely rested away. we completely filled the ground and everyone headed back to my house. there were over 100 people in my house, to celebrate the life of my grandma. she was so incredibly loved by so many people. it was amazing to see the amount of lives she touched and influenced. of course it wouldn’t be a Gaber/Haber party without some alcohol and drug consumption, but that’s the way grandma would have wanted it. we sat shiva friday, saturday and sunday and it surprisingly was a very happy time. we were mourning the loss of my grandma but really we were celebrating the wonderful life she lived. as the rabbi read during the funeral service,
“I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
from the beginning…to the end.
He noted that first came her date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the “dash” between those years. (1928 -2011)
For that dash represents all the time
that she spent alive on earth…
and now only those who loved her
know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not, how much we own;
the cars…the house…the cash,
what matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our “dash”.
So think about this long and hard…
are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real,
and always try to understand
the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger,
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect,
and more often wear a smile…
remembering that this special “dash”
might only last a little while.
So, when your eulogy’s being read
with your life’s actions to rehash…
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent your “dash”?”
since wednesday, all i’ve been doing is sleeping, eating and spending time with family and friends. in doing that, i’ve been so exhausted. exhausted beyond belief actually. it scares me how much emotions can wear you out. after the company leaves and it gets quiet in the house, that’s when the emotions really come back. in the peace and quiet of our home, we slowly break down. i’m emotionally drained. i miss her more than you can believe. i also on thursday morning told my mom about my tattoo for grandma. we both cried hysterically in each others arms and she ended up telling my dad. he surprisingly wasn’t angry at me and told me, with tears in his eyes, that it was a beautiful thing that i did. i’m still in shock that he was okay with it. i also took my cousin on thursday to get her tattoo for grandma which came out beautiful too.
everything was finally starting to settle down in my house when we get a phone call this afternoon saying that my uncle is in the hospital because his blood pressure is through the roof. on top of the death of his mother less than a week ago, he is now in the hospital. my family cannot catch a break this week. it really needs to end. why us? i’m praying that everything is okay because he’s been having a lot of problems lately. but i’m slowly getting back into the swing of things. i should be returning back to school tomorrow or wednesday/thursday when the snow gives up. i need to stay strong. i love you up in the sky and deep in the ocean grandma. i love you more than you will ever know. rest in peace, you will always hold a special place in my heart <3