Tuesday, December 19, 2006

In Memoriam

Today, I buried my beloved grandmother. She passed away Sunday night, without suffering, surrounded by family.

Don't know what to say, yet I feel like I should type something...

This is the first time in my life that I've seen a person die in front of me. It was not dramatic. As a matter of fact, it was surreal in a way. She really did not look very different alive and dead.

From that point on, life took on a very assembly line feel. Thank G-d for my wife; she is so organized and pulled together. She was able to get the funeral homes on the phone, and get pricing, details, help us make a decision and arrange everything. Unfortunately, with her mother passing away three years ago, she had practice.

Death is a business, you quickly find out under these circumstances. In some way it cheapens the event, or maybe takes advantage of the loved ones. How much to spend on a burial, how much on the plot... How can you make these decisions for someone whom you loved so much.

It is hard being observant, and the rest of the family not. I lobbied for an Orthodox funeral. It is more expensive in some ways, because of the shomer, and the premium price to make sure that the burial is in the 'restricted' Jews-only section of the cemetery. Also, a lot of what ex-Soviet Jews do is very different from traditional Jewish customs, and so at every point in the process, I was on the phone with my rabbi asking if it was halachically OK, etc.. I didn't want to impose what I thought was the right thing to do on the rest of my family, but I think my grandmother would have thought these things to be important. Overall, I think that it went very well, and nobody felt like "the Orthodox" took over the funeral.

Actually, in a way the Orthodox did take over the funeral. Men from the shul came to the ceremony to make sure that we had a minyan. Men that frankly I don't know very closely. Men that are busy businessmen who took time out of their day to perform the mitzvah of kavod ha-mes.

My body aches from all the dirt I shoveled. Then the shiva at my house. But I hope that with everything I did in the last few days, I conveyed my love, admiration, and respect for my beautiful babushka Sofa.


Blogger Shoshana said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure your grandmother will live long in your memories of her. And I'm sure she would be happy to know that you are keeping her heritage alive.

December 20, 2006 5:14 AM  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Im sorry to hear about your loss. May her memory be a blessing to you... and my thoughts are with you at this difficult time.

December 20, 2006 6:37 PM  
Blogger Irina Tsukerman said...

Sorry... got cut off.

I think you did the best possible things, because you did what you felt was right... and your grandmother would be proud of you.

December 20, 2006 6:41 PM  
Blogger e-kvetcher said...

Thanks, everyone, for the warm words.

December 21, 2006 7:55 AM  
Blogger dbs said...

This simple and beautiful post conveyes a profound love. I'm sure that it is only a small token of what you and your family feels.

May the memories live long and the sadness quickly pass.

December 23, 2006 7:34 PM  

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