Saturday, July 3, 2010

Update 31

I am so sorry that I haven’t updated in a while... I have a few things to update so I will do it in two posts.

A few weeks ago my Bubby (Mother’s Mother) randomly said that after six years of not seeing her oldest sister she needs me to drive her 8 hours to go “say goodbye to her”. I asked her what the hell she was talking about. She explained to me that she is afraid to fly and she has a feeling that she her sister will die very soon and she will not be able to live with herself if she does not go say goodbye to her. My Bubby has four granddaughters. All of them (besides me) call her and visit her on a regular basis however none of them (besides me) would ever agree to get in a car with her for an 8 hour drive because of one of her crazy internal intuitions. She said I have to take her before I leave to Israel. I thought it was strange but I figured I would just do it. So we chose the weekend before my Israel trip. The plan was to leave early Friday morning and make it there before the Sabbath (my bubby’s family is orthodox and observes the Sabbath). The plan was that me, my mom and her mom (my bubby) would pile into the car and be stuck together for 8 straight hours... 3 generations of Jewish neurosis, guilt and co-dependency all together for the weekend. We got a call on Thursday afternoon that her sister was actually very sick and they were not sure if she would even make it until the next day. My Bubby started to panic to my mom who in turn called to panic to me. “I just want to make it there to say goodbye, even if its just for 10 minutes”. I was irritated by the anxiety, panic and urgency in my mom’s voice but felt this unbelievable responsibility to make sure she got there in time. I told them that I had to work til 10 PM Thursday night and that we could leave at 11 and I would drive through the night to get her there. I set a few ground rules. There was to be NO talk of her sister or death or panic for the entire ride. My bubby was required to take sleeping meds to knock her out for the entire ride. My mom was NOT to comment on my driving or grip the handle in a dramatic way as if to prepare herself for a car crash at any point on the trip. I was in charge of the radio because I was driving and needed to be kept awake. After what felt like 4 days of driving, we got to her middle sisters house. She woke up from a full night of sleep and it started.... She said that she had not slept a wink, I told her that I had been listening to her snore for the last 8 hours and she said that was impossible. She started to fix her hair and put on make up and change into nice new clothes in the back of the car. Was I the only one who didn’t think you need to dress up to go see your dying 90 year old sister in the hospital? I started to better understand the way some of her crap has been passed down to me through my mother. Like her, I care what I look like and what people will think. I can’t stand it when she does it but I found some compassion for her and for my mother and even for myself that weekend. We sat in a hospital room all together. My 86 year old grandmother, her 88 year old sister and her 90 year old sister, we are not 100 % sure of their ages cause they all lied to make themselves younger, probably to be more desirable to men or something back in the day. Also there was the next generation... my mother and the oldest daughter of each of my bubby’s sisters. And me. I watched how they all babied their aging mothers and looked up to their children. Although my mother was not raised with her cousins, it was enough that they all had mothers who were exactly like each other for the dynamic in each family to turn out the same. The craziness was so deeply ingrained in all three families, it is no wonder that I am the way I am. The difference is that I choose to seek help and grow and stop the cycle.

The very crazy part was the very next day my 90 year old aunt passed away with her crazy 88 year old and 86 year old sisters right by her side. They had been through everything together. Through the Holocaust, through the murder of their parents and siblings, through marriages, through their husbands deaths, a death of a child, weddings of their own children and births of their grandchildren and now they sat together in a hospital room and shared their last memory together as the three crazy sisters. I spent the weekend observing and reflecting on the dynamics and behaviour of everyone in the family. I learned a lot about myself that weekend. I learned about where I really come from and I better understood why I am the way I am. I was also able to see some of the changes that I would like to make in my own life and not carry them onto my own children. I am glad that I got her there in time. I am glad I witness her saying goodbye to her big sister who she has known for 86 years. I feel like I witnessed a little piece of history. I feel like it is more important then ever to document our grandparents stories cause their generation is dying off and we will have no real connection to the past if we don't document it for our children...

1 comment:

  1. This is beautiful. I'm glad you were able to be there with your bubby and the rest of your family.