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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Why Can't I think?!?

Hey all, well, I've been having a tough wk. My mother and Grand-mother both had to go to the hospital, one day after each-other. Baruch Hashem, my mom is now back at home and under dr's observation. My gran-mother is still in the hospital. Apparently, she has something called CVS, where her body is having problems producing good bacteria to fight off infections. I go back and forth whether it's better or worse than I'm over 6,000 miles away from where everything is happening. Talking to my siblings who are still at home and have to deal with all this, it's hard to be so far away. Basically, they don't agree with some of the things I have to say about the situation. And, I think that I can say some of things I've said because I'm kind of separated, emotionally and physically, from what's going on.

Here's the deal. My grand-mother is 97 years old. She has lived for almost a CENTURY. Can you imagine that?!? We call her Ms. Hollywood. She's always been so full of life and activity. She's so vivacious and has such a positive outlook on life. Up until 6 years ago, when she was 91, she was still getting up at the crack of dawn each morning, taking care of the other residents of her apt complex who couldn't take care of themselves, and walking several miles every day. She was voted the JCC's Mitzvah Lady more times than I can count. The woman is absolutely amazing and has always been my role model. I used to tell her all the time that I wanted to be like her and hoped that if I make it to her age, I hope people think of me the way they think of her. I've never met anyone like her. Someone who so selflessly cares about other people. She used to crack jokes that the male doctors she went to all had crushes on her and were going to leave their wives for her. They loved her so much that no doctor would charge her for visits even if her Medicare didn't cover everything. When Clinton was President, she used to joke that he would climb through her window to meet with her. It was always hilarious. We used to love it. That's Ms Hollywood for you.

I'm going through the motions of telling the story for a reason. So, bear with me here. 6 years ago things changed. That Tisha B'Av, my grand-mother wanted to sit on the ground for Eicha. Even at 91, she wanted to things like they're supposed to be done. However, her right knee buckled underneath her, and she fell to the floor in a weird position. She had to be rushed to the hospital. Since that day, she hasn't been the same. Her health just started deteriorating from there. She went from needing a walker to assist her to being wheel-chair bound. She went from being a totally independent woman, who has spent most of her life doing everything on her own, to being completely dependent on other people and not being able to go to the bathroom on her own. That made her very depressed.

Well, it's gotten to the point where she doesn't want to keep going. My grand-father passed away when I was 6 months old, and she has said repeatedly that she's ready to join him. She has started to say that she's so tired and just doesn't want to keep going the way she is. She's been the hospital at least once a month the past year or so. When she gets a cold, she has to go the hospital, and she's tired of it.

Now, I've spoken with my sisters, and they've all cried to me and said that they don't want her to talk like that and that they don't want to let her go. I haven't cried. I have tried to tell my sisters that she has accomplished so much in her life, more than most people ever imagine. She has over 20 grand-children and more than 40 great grand-children. She has seen most of her grand-children married. She is 97 years old! I have told them that she has earned the right to say that she's tired and wants to be with her husband now. I actually think it's selfish for us to demand that she stay around for us. She lived 91 years of her life as an independent vibrant woman. For the past 6 years, she has had to deal with the complete opposite of what she's used to. There are no regrets for her. She has done and accomplished everything that she has ever wanted. This was a woman who, when it wasn't common in the least bit, strove to get an educated and would've gone to college if she hadn't decided that her kids need her more. Growing up, all I ever heard from her was that getting an education was the most important thing and that I should make a family only after I was educated. That was because she felt that my family would be better and more enriched with educated parents. She was such an empowering woman. She wasn't a feminist or anything like that. She was just empowering. It was always amazing to watch. It's for all these reasons that I can't cry. Of course I will miss her, but I feel that my grand-mother has been missing for the past 6 years. I also feel that because she has lived such a fulfilled life, I can only be happy for the life she led and having nothing to be sad about.

I love her with all my heart, and it is for that reason that I have no problem with her saying that it's time for her to go. Am I heartless for saying and feeling that way? Should I be sad that she wants to leave us?

It's funny. The post is titled the way it is because I really haven't been able to think of anything this wk because of everything that's going on. I missed class and have been feeling really under the weather precisely because of the weather. I figured that I wouldn't have anything to say. It looks like I did. I'm glad I've shared my wonderful grand-mother with all of you. It's not like she's dying or anything like that, but I have a feeling that it's coming soon. I hope all of you are graced to know a woman or a person like her. I ask that you keep her in your prayers and Tehillim. Her name is:
Rivka Myral Bat Funkal (prounounced like Foonkul)

Shabbat Shalom.


At 2:41 PM, Blogger Greg said...

OC: it's definitely not heartless or selfish for you to be taking this position. I think that I would feel like you if (G-d forbid) one of my grandparents was feeling the way your grandmother is.

I was astonished reading your post. Your grandmother's life story, though I know only parts, is a huge inspiration. I will immediately get to my lessons as soon as I finish typing this!

I think you're right with regards to what you said concerning your disagreement with your sisters. There comes a time in all of our lives when it's time to go. Sometimes it comes faster; sometimes slower, but we must all be given a chance to die respectably-to die like we lived.

Shabbat shalom, איתן

At 2:53 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Thank you, Eitan, for the kind words. She is an inspiration for all of us. I appreciate it.

At 2:29 AM, Blogger Greg said...

I'm just sorry it looks like I was the only one who read this post. That's too bad since I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who'd feel inspired by it.

np @ all, Eitan.

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

Yeah, well, I'm trying to figure out a way to increase my viewership. Any ideas?


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