Saturday, January 19, 2013

Baruch Dayan HaEmet

My beloved grandmother, Doris Ferraro, passed away today, quite literally surrounded by her family, at the vibrant age of 101 years and three months.

This past week she wasn't feeling well. Docs in Florida told her she had a UTI, but the meds just were not helping.

My parents were supposed to leave for a three week cruise on Thursday, but because of the snow this week in Atlanta (of all places), their flight was cancelled. They were able to rebook for Friday.

But later on Thursday, Grandma really wasn't feeling well, and it was decided by all that she would come up to CT. My folks cancelled their cruise (they take insurance for that), and Friday morning Grandma's helper, Heather, flew up with her.

They went directly to Hartford Hospital ER. My sister is on staff at Hartford - she's a cardiologist - so she was able to get Grandma seen by the right folks.

And, unfortunately, the news was not good. Perforated bowel and Acute Leukemia. And she was in a lot of pain.

My mom said Grandma was very lucid until they gave her sedatives to help with the pain. My dad's brothers both came in, along with four out of five of my cousins - one more lives in California, and he was not able to get here.

David and I were supposed to be in Boston all weekend. Friday we picked the kids up from school and dropped them at my friend N's house. Then we drove to Newton, parked the car at Riverside, and took the T into Boston.

And we'd just gotten off the T when my mom called to tell us the news.

So we did stay overnight at the hotel, but this morning we checked out and started the trek back. Got stuck on the T for an hour because of signal problems. Drove home (another 40 minutes). Repacked. N brought the kids back and we re-packed them, too, and got out of the house as soon as we could.

David has to fly out on Monday morning, so we took two cars, not knowing how long this would be. He took Micah with him, since Micah was having a tough time getting moving. I sped down with Sam and Sofia, trying my best to get there "in time". Mom had called in the morning to say it could be "any time".

I did not make it to see her, but she literally held on until we got to the hospital. She must have heard me outside her window, yelling at the valet! I got the text from mom that she'd passed just as I got the valet to take the car keys.

So I got up to the room a few minutes late, but still able to give her a hug and a kiss. My parents, my uncles, one of my aunts, my sister, brotherinlaw, one niece and four cousins, all in one room. Plus now me, Sam and Sofia.

Everyone was still crying, and Uncle B was on the phone to either his wife or my other cousin to let them know. We all hugged.

And then, surreal, everyone started eating! Soup, sandwiches, and breads just appeared.

Grandma would have been so proud of everyone.

We all stayed another hour or so, whispering to her, hugging, talking. David and Micah, and Laura and Lilie, all showed up a few minutes after me, adding to the crowd.

And then everyone left! First my uncles, one to Vermont, one to Stamford. The service won't be until Monday, and then the three sons and their wives (and my cousin in CA) will head to FL for the burial and a graveside service there.

Then my folks and my sister, and Laura, and all the kids.

David and I decided to stay. In Jewish tradition, someone stays with the deceased from death until burial. So it seemed really odd to us that everyone would just leave.

So we stayed with her.

The VERY young priest-in-training came in to do hand imprints - like clay imprints that kids do. He was sweet, but I couldn't resist telling him as I helped him hold her hands, "This is VERY goyish!"

We stayed in the hallway while the nurse prepared her body, and then sat again for a while until the technician from the morgue arrived. We waited until he rolled her away.

Then we came back to my sister's house. We all had dinner, and then my folks and Laura and David left. The kids and I are sleeping here at my sister's. David has to fly off really early Monday morning, so he went back tonight.

I'm curled up with Sofia, and Micah just crawled in with us.

I miss my Grandma. But my, oh my, what an incredible life!


Tracy said...

Francine, your family has been in my thoughts and prayers these last few days. I was so saddened to hear about your grandmother. I know you miss her terribly. Sending hugs to you and your family.