I woke this morning with a stuffy head, ear ache, and a sense of something being ‘off’ though I couldn’t pinpoint what. We skipped Easter services at church, and I slept til late in the afternoon, then woke, tidied the kitchen, and watched a few episodes of Stargate SG-1 (season one) because I wanted to watch something familiar and comfortable.
And then the phone rang.
There are times when a ringing phone is completely innocent, and then there are times when you know, even before you pick it up, that it will not be a happy fun call.
Today’s call from my mother was to let me know that Bubbie – my grandmother – technically my step-grandmother – had died. She was ninety-five, and on a pacemaker, so it wasn’t a surprise, and yet…it’s ALWAYS a surprise.
She was Jewish, and often lectured my stepfather for not practicing his religion. I remember once, shortly after my mother and stepfather got married, she and my grandmother had a conversation about the differences between Catholocism and Judaeism.
She loved music, and at the age of seventy-five bought herself a piano, and took five semesters of piano at the local city college. We joked that if there was a doctorate in group piano, she’d have one.
She was the quintessential Jewish grandmother – if you offered her tea or a cookie, she’d sort of sigh and shrug and say, “If you make, I eat.”
When she was 90, she took my mother and me aside and said, “Now…now I’m old.” As if, before then, she was ageless.
In her honor, and out of curiosity, I looked up an English translation of the Kaddish, and noticed that this prayer of mourning never mentions death, but celebrates love of God, instead.
In her memory, we’ll be having trees planted in Israel, because she always wanted to travel there, and never had the opportunity.
Her name was Miriam.
May she rest in peace.