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15 February 2004 @ 01:44 pm
RIP Elanor Nazzaro (1916 - 2004)  

[Cross-posted from my MovableType Blog]

[This entry was written on a plane and posted as of the date written]

There's no easy way to say this, and I'm not even sure why I'm addressing this matter in a public forum. My grandmother died Friday. She had a massive stroke on Thursday morning, and died quietly this afternoon. Firey and independent until the end, she was surrounded by family, yet waited until everyone had stepped out for a moment to actually pass.

There is a great sadness within me, yet also a bit of relief. She had been failing for some time, and had lost my grandfather just a few months before. I wasn't there to see her degrade day after day, and I can't even begin to imagine how my cousins, aunt, uncle and mother coped with it. (to say nothing of my grandfather, who watched the woman he'd loved for 60+ years slip away.) Much of my relief is for them.

For the past few years, she told everyone that she had lived a full life. She had much to be proud of. She had beautiful children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and these were a source of some of the greatest joys in her life. She left us with a great legacy of memories, admonishments, and guidance. I find myself being caught up in those memories lately.

More recently, she'd have darker moments, she'd say that people are living too long and she's just biding her time. She was still proud of the life she lived, but she was living less and less of it and it frustrated her greatly.

This once again calls into question my beliefs as to what happens next. It's easy for me to *take on* her beliefs and say she's playing bridge behind the pearly gates with my grandfather, Edie & Marty (With Craig standing in as a fourth on occasion). The simple answer is that it honors her to think of things that way, but I find myself feeling that's a cop-out. I have some strong convictions about the nature of life and death, but they are abstract. Concrete events make me question them. I think that examining one's convictions & beliefs is a healthy and important thing, but I also wonder at my "convictions" that don't stand up to a significant stress-test.

These are obviously the ravings of a grief-muddled mind. I'm fortunate that MT allows me to put them "below the fold."