Going through the motions

By Andrea Freedman

As some of you may have noticed, I have taken a break from my blog for the past little while. What you may not know is that I have taken a break from just about everything in my life since the recent passing of my much loved grandmother.

Although the seven day Shiva period observed when a Jewish person dies is over, now that the hoopla of being surrounded by well-meaning visitors is behind us, it is still not easy to put on a happy face and keep going as if nothing has changed. In fact, a whole lot has changed; without my grandmother, life will never be the same again.

Weekly visits to the nursing home where she lived for the past two years had become a regular part of my routine. I was looking forward to another summer there, pushing my grandmother around in her wheelchair through the grounds of the residence, stopping off at the bazaar to shop for bargains (I actually got some good stuff in there), and chatting with the nice ladies who volunteer at the gift shop. I was hoping that one day I would be able to say “I’m fifty years old and I still have a grandmother.” But I was just being selfish.

This wonderful woman was almost 92 years old when she died and lived on her own until the age of 89. However, after a series of small strokes robbed her of her independence and freedom, although she put on a smile for me and the rest of her family, she was no longer happy with her life, and I can’t say I blame her. She is at peace now and I take comfort in knowing that. There are moments though, when my head tells me one thing, while my heart says another.

I feel a lump in my throat forming and tears springing to my eyes even as I write this. It has been so difficult to complete the simplest of tasks, to sometimes speak to concerned friends; basically, it has been hard to even move. For now I am going through the motions of my life even though an underlying feeling of sadness envelops me.

My grandmother was one of the biggest supporters of my writing career. She kept a folder of every single piece I ever had published, and it followed her to the nursing home, where I would continue to bring her my articles for her collection. I will now be getting one less copy of my columns for her, and I will miss seeing her smile or laugh when I read them to her.

To everyone out there who has suffered the loss of a loved one, and to all those in the world who are also mourning the loss of Helen Gelman, my grandmother, I feel your pain. No matter how old a person is, if you love them, saying goodbye, seeing them go, can feel unbearable, and despite reason or logic, unbelievable.

This next year will be hard, but it will also be filled with sweet reminders of the wonderful woman who united us and was the respected matriarch of our family. I hope I brought as much meaning to her life as she did to mine.

Take it from me. If you are lucky enough to have grandparents, spend as much time as you can with them; visit them as often as possible, call them on the phone. You will not only bring them joy, you will have no regrets.

The grieving must be endured before the healing can begin; everyone grieves in their own way and on their own time. Even though it doesn’t always seem like it, our hearts do have the capacity to mend. When I am ready – I may not even notice it – all of a sudden I am certain that I will start to feel better. That’s what my grandmother would want; not for me to wallow in sadness.

Hopefully before long my creative juices will begin to flow again and the ache in my heart and my overall malaise and foul moods will lessen with time.

I will never forget my beautiful grandmother and I am sure I will never stop missing her. Let the tears fall where they may. It’s okay, it’s healthy to cry and a necessary step before being able to move on with the positive attitude I learned from her and carry on with my life the way I know she would have hoped I would.

Long live the spirit and legacy of Helen Gelman. She was everything a grandmother should be, and so much more.♥


Copyright © by Andrea Freedman, 2015.


About andfreed

I am a Toronto based writer of articles, columns, essays and novels.

Posted on April 11, 2015, in Weekly Thoughts and Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Your post is a beautiful tribute to your grandmother Andrea and must admit to welling up when reading. My grandmother is 92, and only has been a care facility for the last 2 years. I am trying to be prepared for the day when she passes, though one is never ready for the loss of a loved one. What we can take away is the joy of having them in our lives and the memories. And as you wrote, spend as much time as possible with them. The days ahead will be difficult, yet remember she has had a positive influence in your life.
    Warmest wishes


  2. sylviebesnards

    Your feelings are beautifully expressed here, Andrea, very moving!


  3. This is such a well written tribute to a wonderful woman. Xo


  4. May the universe grant you strength during this difficult time,


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