Back from Vancouver yesterday at 5 am. It was huge. I wrote the eulogy for my grandmother, but I won't post it here. It is too long and boring, but I liked the way it turned out.
I have a suitcase worth of tchatchkes from her. Stuff I wanted to remember her by. But I think I went overboard in my state of mind, which was a mixture of grieving, nostalgic, embarassed cuz I kept bawling, and frazzled with all the details, and my mother and uncle's apparent inability to pack up her room.
I took a pair of her slippers and her pink comb, her crocheted hangers, her 70's hairdryer, her glasses. I also was left her Star of David medallion, which she always wore. Which I will never wear. What do you do with things like that?
OK here is a bit from the Eulogy: When she got older, she always knew where we were, who we were dating, what our social agendas were, our financial situations... and somehow grandma always knew how much we weighed, even across the world.
And she worried herself sick over our safety. What Jewish mother doesn't? But last week, she left me a message, begging me to stop riding my bike to work because it was snowing -- in Vancouver.
She got all wise and expansive in the past few years, but maintained the same unfaltering practicality. Once, on a visit, the day I was leaving, she spoke to me so beautifully about love and life choices, giving me such sweet and wise advice. As I left, I felt myself choke up. I worried it would be the last time I would see her. As I gathered my stuff and got up to leave for the airport, I asked: Grandma, is there anything else you wanted to tell me? She paused for a bit, and finally said: "Yes. Sweetheart, get yourself one of those bundle buggies for your laundry so that you don't have to carry a bag."
Grandma was proud of her mind, which was always so sharp, much like her tongue. Last time Jackie came to visit, grandma said to her: "You know, it is amazing how lipstick just brightens up your face." To which Jackie replied: "But grandma, I'm not wearing any lipstick." Grandma, with her impeccable comic timing, smiled, and said: "I know."
The important thing to know about Irma, but you probably knew this already, is that she was all about love. All of her favorite stories were in some way or another, about the triumph of love.
Her impulse to fix things and have her hand in everything was, I think, her way of making sure there was a good portion of Irma's love in the mix. She wanted nothing better than for us to be close to one another, surrounded by a protective bubble of love. We rolled our eyes when she said it, but I suspect it was true when she would say: " If you're happy, I'm happy."