For the people that aren’t Jewish or haven’t attended a shiva let me paint the picture for you. A typical shiva requires a significant amount of gossiping and gorging on coffee cake, rugelach and other pastries while reminiscing here or there about the deceased. Family and friends clamor and chat about what THEY brought to the shiva, gossip about who is getting married and divorced amongst the community while grandparents whip out their iPhones attempting to pull up pictures of their grandchildren. “Awwww look there’s my grandson he’s going to be a doctor one day did you hear?” (Um yeah he’s 3 and can barely use the potty, but ok, doctor it is).In all seriousness, and I am guilty of this as well, we get so wrapped up in the food, fun and socializing that we don’t take the time to sit and reflect and remember why we are all really joining together.
Losing a grandparent is losing your biggest fan in the world. A grandparent thinks your worst days are your brightest. They are the confidant who simply wish you silver linings for your clouds. Grandparents happily give you ice cream and french fries for lunch against mom and dads orders, ( history is clearly repeating itself with my parents and my child), they buy the most memorable gifts and tokens to cherish and they consider your meltdowns a highlight of their day. You see, a grandchild can do no wrong through the eyes of their grandparent.
My grandmother had very little when she passed on but she said something that will resonate within me. She said “I can’t leave you with money or material things but I can leave you with memories”. There is no dollar amount on that.People tend to talk about the unconditional love that a parent has for a child, yet the love you feel from a grandparent runs deeper, is less tainted and is a rare connection. Perhaps it is because grandparents can give their grandchildren back to the parents at the end of a holiday visit or have been down the road of raising children and simply know that at the age of 96 with 5 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren, life doesn’t get much better than the gift of family. So grandma for all of your Yiddish sayings, spectacular sassiness, (I inherited that, with pride) your love of the beauty parlor (yes that’s what she called it) and your insatiable appetite (which I, too, struggle with) I write this for you. Hug and cherish the ones who matter to you the most because life is short even at 96.
L Shana Tova to the Jews and to everyone else, Happy Monday.