Gallery of art and thoughts

The cartoons and contemplations of a twentysomething copy editor.

Friday, November 25, 2005

This week...

...was one in which I did not write anything on this website (except, of course, for this post). Tomorrow I turn 27. But there is a more meaningful date that is weighing on me: November 20, when my grandmother died.

She was one of the most encouraging people in my life. The daughter of two Polish Jews who died in Auschwitz, she was the only one of four siblings to escape. In 1938, she left for America and never saw anyone from her immediate family again.

Over the years that I knew her, she taught me much. When we differed on political issues (she supported the Rosenbergs, I questioned their innocence), she said that people can disagree on certain topics and still love one another. Her story of survival and escape from an anti-Semitic Europe made me determined to nourish my own Jewish identity in the United States. Her interest in Israel helped spur me to visit my "second" homeland this past January.

We lost her at age eighty-five to what was almost certainly cancer. She spent nearly a month in a nearby nursing home before being hospitalized in Boston. Her last day was in a hospice.

I regret that her last month was so difficult, and I regret that this country makes it so difficult for its senior citizens to live stress-free lives. Our nursing homes need improvement; they must be more affordable, and their residents must be separated between those who are mentally sound and those who have dementia.

Writing about a loved one who died is difficult for me. Yet I feel that my grandmother's life, and the way it ended, both deserve remembrance.


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