Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Grandma





Grandma is ill.

i always like visiting grandma. i love her very much, and even though her apartment is hot and her food isn't what used to be, it doesn't matter because i want to be with her. i go and i listen to her stories about everyday's life, about her childhood in Romania and about her rude and in-obedient cleaner. i don't like those cleaner stories, they bore me but i listen because i know that it gives her pleasure that someones listening. mom, for example, is getting annoyed by these stories and she don't like listening to her, so she is usually glad when i say I'll take grandma back to her household in Saturday after a dinner with us. i think it's hard for her, seeing her mother becoming a tape that repeats itself.
i do, however, like to listen to her stories about her childhood in a village in Romania, before she migrated to Israel. throughout my childhood i was listening to her stories, living and experiencing them with my imagination as if they were mine. i love her dearly.

when last visiting my grandma, a few days ago, i felt something was hidden, but quite wrong. her glance was like she was staring into a void. her eyes were a little shut. nothing very out of the ordinary, and we did have fine conversations as always about her childhood in Romania and about her rude and inobedient cleaner. but something i felt about her, brought me back a few years ago, when meeting an old relative who i always saw as a kind of grandpa.

my grandpas are not amongst the living, (the grandpa from my mothers side passed away when i was 6 years old, and the other passed away even before i even was conceived), and he (his name was Tzvi, meaning "deer" or "antelope in Hebrew) was one of those grandfather characters in my life. he was always nice and kind and wrote poems about me, starting with the rhyme "le yaron ha yakinton" ( meaning: to Yaron the hyacinth). when i met him in the last months of his life, his eyes were same as my grandma's - a little bit shut, like he just woke up from a sleep, only that he was about to get into a deep sleep of which he won't wake. he died in his sleep. tzvi was what we call in Hebrew (roughly translated) "the salt of the land" - one of Israel's bravest and dearest persons. apart from being a major figure in the Zionist movement in Romania, he also was one of the many pioneers of Israel, and an important executive in the ZIM shipping company and the founder of it's branches in Africa (or something like that). a good man overall and an ever interesting man, filled with stories and experiences. his (well he was married - so their) house was full of genuine African masks and collectible items from Africa and the far east (many of them were ivory artifacts, made way before ivory poaching was illegal in Africa), and heavy wooden furniture.
a real "salt of the earth".

today i was eating lunch with my brother. we were full and sat and talked. the cell-phone rang and mother was talking. she said that grandma doesn't feel good. usually she's always in pains, but this time her moth was open and she was suffering. the doctor said she probably has breathing problems, but found no reason to hospitalise there. i guess he/she subscribed her something. it's amazing how medicine can be sometimes used not only to fight death, but to prolong a suffering.
now, I'm not a man who sees doom and catastrophe, but i certainly feel the end is close for her.
a year back, i told her about a dream i had, where i found out she died and cried miserably. she smiled and said, "you have to know i had a good life, and I'm ready for death to come". and i thought to myself, well, I'm not ready yet, but that doesn't matter isn't it?

as i was digesting the food and the recent call from my mother, a weird man came, shoved his hands into my pickle plate and asked if he could have one. i said "be my guest", with a slight smile. life can be sad, funny and surreal at the same time. a kind of Roberto Benini feeling.
i was remembering how in the "shogun" book, blackthorn rescued toranaga from an earthquake. his expensive suit covered with dust and his favorite priceless swords falling into the abyss. then, they sat on the ground, and laughed. karma.

death has not knocked on her doorstep yet, but i hope i will be ready. i think I'll visit her soon.
i hope I'm mistaken, and my sensation was utterly wrong,
and if I'm right, i hope she will have a pleasant death. like tzvi.
a suitable painless death, for a wonderful person, whom I'll remember. all my life.

2 Comments:

Anonymous lilly said...

About a year before my grandmother died she was in the hospital for a while, she had a cataract surgery gone bad and had a pretty massive infection in her eye, she was already confused and disoriented and with the pain killers she was even more weak and confused.

I was sitting next to her bed in the hospital while she was taking a nap, I almost never came to visit her on my own accord, but when she was sick I somehow found the time to be there.

I looked at her, all wrinkled and small - like old people are, she used to be 1.70m now she was shorter then me, and I thought - even if she pull through, she wouldn't get better all of a sudden, there really isn't a cure for old age and she's slowly dying, she had a fulfill life, had a good family, created art, had connections with people and a unique observation on the world, and now, after achieving all those things, there's nothing but death to wait for.

It wasn’t a sad understanding, just a realization, I knew that her death, which came a year later, wouldn't be sad, it would be the most natural thing, cause she did finished all the life she had to do.

I hope your grandmother does pull through, I don't know how old or how healthy and lucid she still is - It sounds like you could use more time with her.

4:36 PM  
Blogger dark-forest said...

yea i could use some more time, but i know it's a natural thing, death waits to us all and im fine with it. im more terrifed about her dying than me.

she is 90 and quite lucid. that's what's making it harder.

10:36 PM  

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