We named our new baby for her, Coraline Laurel, you can read her name story here. And it will make me eternally sad that they will never get to meet. It also makes me sad that my brother's wife is pregnant with their first child, and my grandma will never meet her either. Since my SIL is due in 10 days, I was hoping today was going to be the day, it would have been bittersweet for the baby to share my grandma's birthday - but since I haven't heard anything yet, I suppose today's not the day.
When my grandma died, the funeral was very small - about a dozen people, and a rabbi presiding over it that had never met any of us. My mom asked me if I wanted to speak, but I knew I'd never be able to get a word out, and instead I sent her some words/thoughts to share with the rabbi - to give him a sense of who she was. Well, as it turned out, my mom ended up reading my email word for word and it became her eulogy. (If I had known that, I would have written it more eloquently and not in bullet points!) But it brought me to tears then and still does today. Today is the first time I've read it since the day we stood graveside, and it makes me both happy and sad to read. It's making me both cry and smile at the same time. So today, I feel like sharing -
Things i learned from my grandparents:
Unconditional love. Though she didnt always understand or agree with me, more than anyone else my grandmother showed me what unconditional love was.
Generosity. Not just financially, but of love, and time, and laughter, and spirit. My grandparents were the most generous people i've ever known, and this is something i hope to carry on to my family and friends.
Honesty. Grandma was never one to keep her opinions to herself, even when you didnt want to hear them. But when you needed a truth, or advice, you could count on nothing but the truth.
Knowing when to laugh at yourself. I'm actually still learning this lesson. But grandma was full of life and humor, and this sometimes included laughing at herself. We'd often laugh together at the ridiculous products she bought off the TV during late night infomercials.
Her love of travel. Though their apartment was in the middle of the city, exotic items from all of their travels made it seems worldly. Like her, travelling is one of my greatest hobbies.
Her passion for makeup and jewelry. She loved sequins and sparkles. She knew how to accessorize and she knew that sometimes some glitz and glamour is all it takes to make someone feel good.
Family. She taught me that friends, jobs, homes, objects... come and go. But your family will be there no matter what. She taught me when to remember that family comes first.
Commitment. Her marriage to this day still awes me. Five years ago, when she nearly threw herself into my grandfather's grave, i really understood the depth of their love and commitment, and even after 60 years, i couldnt imagine a stronger bond.
Always do the right thing. Always be the bigger person. Always be the best you can be. Even in times of conflict, my grandma always told me... it doesnt matter how the other person is acting, but to be the bigger person and make things right. They taught me to always do the right thing. If you try to do good by everyone, things will fall into place for you. I'm not sure if they believed in the concept of karma, or "what goes around comes around" but in trying to live my life by this mantra, i know that they are right. When you always try to do the right thing, life has a way of working out.
She was loud and funny. Pushy but kind. Always full of life and love. Adventurous but cautious. Wise but full of youth. Strong and independant.
When i told grandma I was pregnant with Lily, her joy was infectious. First came shock, but then such love. Wherever we went together in the past 3 years, she proudly announced to everyone that would listen (including waiters and cashiers) that this was her granddaughter... and her GREAT granddaughter. I'm thankful every day that i got to share the greatest joy in my life with her.
See lots of photos of her here. And I will share some more photos of her that I haven't shared yet. Just before my grandfather died in 2006 they were getting ready to celebrate their 60th anniversary. As a gift, I scanned decades of family photos and made them a wedding style album that showed 60 years of their lives together. Sadly, my grandpa died 2 months before the anniversary, but I went through with making the album anyway, and my grandma kept it on her coffee table until she died. (I have it now.) Below are some of the photos from the album:
|The album I made.|
|(far right) - Working in a factory during WWII.|
|Laura with her family in NYC.|
|Her 90th Birthday in Atlantic City - the last time we were together.|
Two years ago today.
And, I'm not sure if it's weird or not, but I've saved the last voice mail my grandma ever left on my cell phone for 2 years - which is as far as I know, the only recording of her voice besides old home videos from when we were kids. I've been meaning to record/save it in case the phone company erases it (since every time I save it, it says "this message will be saved for 21 days"... and two years later it's still there), so today I decided to do it! I still saved it on my phone (my grandparents are still saved in the contacts too - though their apartment surely has been rented to someone else and their phone number given away too - I just can't seem to erase it.
Does anyone else save voice mails from people who are deceased?
|Lily's 2nd birthday party. August 21, 2010.|
I miss you, Grandma.