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In Her Memory

April 27th, 2011 by Avital

Yesterday I came back from a homeland visit and welcoming me back were the news of my grandmother’s passing.

In these sad moments I had some comfort in the fact that just the day before I managed to visit her at the hospital and say my mental goodbye.

Visiting her was a hard decision for me.

I remember my grandmother as a beautiful, beautiful woman, always taking pride in her impeccable appearance.

She had beautiful blond hair and big blue-gray eyes. I wish I had some photos with me so I could show you how gorgeous she was. Every picture looks like it was taken on the red carpet in a Hollywood-ian premiere.

When I was young she used to take me home from kindergarten and later from school and spend the day with me until my father picked me up in the evening or in the late afternoon.

She would go over the yellowing pictures and tell me the stories behind the 2-D photos and then she would start telling me stories she made up or read in Polish and translated for me.

Her patience was endless and she kept going and going and never grew tired of telling me all these marvelous stories that I enjoyed so much.

I am sure she had contributed to my love of story telling just as much as my parents have.

When I was a teenager she got Alzheimer and little by little she grew smaller and smaller until she became just a shadow of her glorious self.

In my mind’s eye she was beautiful and glamorous and it was difficult for me to watch her being anything else.

At the hospital she was hardly breathing, half comatose.

I looked at her and tears started pushing at my eyelids and a big knot started forming in my throat. I could hardly say a word.

Watching her shriveled in an impersonal hospital bed broke my heart.

Her eyes were partly closed and the light taken out of them. Her big beautiful eyes weren’t glowing anymore.

I said “Hello, grandmother” and for a split second I thought she might have heard me. Her eyebrows raised and then dropped again.

I tried to touch her, gently, but she pulled back, as if my gentle stroke was hurting her.

I wanted to sing to her. I wanted to sing the Polish song she taught me as a child “Zashale Gurale”, but I couldn’t say a word. I just looked at her, silently, and sang it in my heart. Hoping she had somehow heard me.

I am glad I had the chance to see my grandmother, just a couple days before her passing but I don’t want to ever remember seeing her like that.

For me my grandmother, Gutta, would always be that beautiful lady.

Wearing pink lipstick and a fabulous dress or a figure hugging suit, putting to shame the fashionistas on “Mad Men”.

For me she would always have light in her eyes and lots of spirit.

Telling me stories in half (or quarter…) Hebrew and half Yiddish and Polish (languages that I have never understood).

For me she would always be the grandmother who asks me if I want a piece of cake and then making the cake from scratch, just for me.

She would always be the grandmother who brings huge jars of scrumptious handmade cookies that disappear in a matter of hours.

She would always be that grandmother. For me.

I love you, savta. May you rest in peace.

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18 Comments to “In Her Memory”

  1. noell says:

    That really was who your grandmother was — her vibrant self when she was fully alive and vital. Such beautiful memories you have. I believe the best way to commemorate a life, as well as to grieve, is to share your stories about the person. I loved reading your memories of her.

    I’m sorry about your loss. Hugs to you, Taly!

  2. Trish says:

    so sorry for your loss, she sounds like a wonderful woman

  3. Anat says:

    I’m sorry for your loss and happy that you got a chance to say goodbuy

  4. So sorry about your loss.
    Your post is a beautiful tribute to the everlasting love you have for her.

    I wish you a lot of courage my Friend <3

  5. Sandy L says:

    Such beautiful memories. She sounds like a wonderful grandmother – and you will always have these to treasure. (((hugs))) I’m sorry for your loss.

  6. Sandi Longworth says:

    Sending comfort your way for your loss. You built a beautiful shrine to her with your words. Many hugs, Sandi

  7. Nancy says:

    I am so sorry for your sadness and loss. Thank you for sharing your lovely memories of your beautiful Grandmother! Your words painted a wonderful picture of love! My prayers will be with you and your family!

  8. Lydia says:

    What a beautiful post. I’m sorry. She must have been a lovely lady.

  9. Linda says:

    What a nice tribute to your grandmother. I just lost mine a few weeks ago. She lived until she was almost 90 years old. I want to remember her pitching a softball at me, watching me sing and dance (for hours) while sitting on the stairs in my house, making me so many yummy meals, and just being the best “nana” in the world. Take care.

  10. So sorry for the loss of your beloved savta.

  11. DNA says:

    Now I am tearing… So sorry for your loss and happy that you have good memories, savta memories are amongst the best memories one can have. Its good that you had the chance to say goodbye-its important.

  12. Joy B says:

    My deepest condolences! My dad, too, has Alzheimer’s and has withered away to a fraction of his once strong, commanding self! But, we can always remember our loved ones as they were in their glory. I’m sure that’s how we will appear in Heaven – at our best or better!

  13. Trece says:

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I know that no words are adequate. . .

  14. Ricki says:

    So sorry for your loss. Just remember the good memories of her that are locked away in your heart forever. She will always be with you.

  15. Ruth says:

    I’m very sorry to hear about your loss. Thanks for sharing the story of what a lovely, fashionable, and inspirational your grandmother, Gutta, was to you. May she live in your heart forever.

  16. Shirley says:

    What a tribute to your grandmother! How blessed you were to have been loved by this wonderful, thoughtful woman. May God bless you and comfort you in your sorrow.

  17. belle says:

    Condolences on the loss of your grandmother. You have such great memories of a lovely lady.

  18. Irene says:

    Today was my first time to your site and read your heartfelt tribute to your grandmother. There is nothing that can compare with the bond between a child and their grandparent. You are fortunate to have had so many memories of her and you have written about some of them here in the most touching way. Although you had the opportunity to be with her as she was transitioning from this world when she no longer looked like the graddmother you knew, you can recall her beautiful eyes and stylish ways. That’s the Gutta you knew. My mother recently passed away from Alzheimers. She too did not look like the Mom I remembered. I keep photos out of her before her illness to replace those of the last years of failing health. Take care, Irene