Three months after we got married, my great-grandmother, T.R., passed away. A month after that, I became pregnant with Shlomo. Obviously, he wasn’t named after her. She was the only person we had to name after, so Shlomo got named after a great rabbi, instead.
On January 20, my great-grandmother’s sister, R. passed away.
On January 1, her son, H., my maternal grandmother’s younger brother, passed away.
Yesterday, March 3, I got an email that T.R.’s brother, C.S., passed away.
It feels like boom-boom-boom.
I honestly wasn’t close to any of them, except for my great-grandmother, but still, it hurts. And the worst part is what my grandmother, and her younger sister, are going through.
T.R., their mother and my great-grandmother, was the eldest of three siblings. Now she, and her siblings, have all passed away.
My grandmother is T.R.’s eldest. They are also three siblings. Now their brother has passed away, their mother and aunt and uncle have passed away, and only the two sisters are left (their father passed away when I was much younger). My grandmother, P., is divorced, and her ex husband, my grandfather, passed away when I was a little girl. Her sister, H.V.G., is married, lives in Israel, and has three daughters, all more or less at my stage of life. My mother is the eldest of three siblings; she and her siblings, and their mother, P., all live in the same city.
Honestly, even though it feels like bim-bam-boom, like there is something wrong, and everything is happening at the same time, it was to be expected. My great-grandmother was 92 when she passed away. Her siblings are probably around that age now, too. People don’t live forever. I should’ve-could’ve-would’ve, this is true.
It’s also true that I don’t have a car, and transportation to where they live(d) is extremely difficult, I am no good with directions, and I was not comfortable traveling to a strange place by myself. I guess, in some way, I expected them to live forever. I expected them to be at family gatherings. I should’ve-could’ve-would’ve. So what. There is nothing I can do now. I thought of doing those things these past few months, but I just wasn’t able to. My schedule has become more inflexible and tightly packed, and I’ve been pushing off a lot of things, not just this.
The only one who should surprise me, who is a little out of the ordinary, is my mother’s uncle, H. He was only in his 60’s, and we all expected him to get better; in fact, he was getting better. Only he should be a shock.
The others – well, should’ve-could’ve-would’ve aside, were expected. Maybe not one after the other, with H. in between. But it was obvious to all of us that this would happen sometime. They lived long, full, lives, and saw grandchildren and great-grandchildren, theirs and their siblings’.
But no matter what, it’s still hard to digest.
May their memories be for a blessing.
When I was pregnant with Shlomo, I felt incredibly lucky. We had no one to name a boy after, and only one person to name a girl after. Last night, after I read H.V.G.’s husband’s (so, my great uncle’s) email (which I had been avoiding all day because I didn’t want to know what it said), I realized that whenever the next one comes around, we will not be so lucky. We will have two people to name a girl after, and two people to name a boy after. What we will do in the end, is a different question, one we will solve when it comes up. But it saddens me to think that in two short years we have gone from one possible namesake to four. (Yitzchak’s family will hopefully only be named after by our grandchildren . . .)