A day in the life of a mother

This blog is about a day in the life of a frum (orthodox Jewish) mother with small children.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Memories of Grandma

I am having such a hard time. I miss her so much. My heart is broken that I can not attend the levaya in Florida on Sunday to say goodbye and have some closure. I am upset that my grandma is in a Jewish funeral home that is not frum, with no one saying tehillim for her to comfort her neshama. She is not having a traditional Jewish burial. there won't be a shroud for her and I don't even know if her casket will be pine. At least my dad convinced my eldest aunt to have a closed casket ,and no music. I know my family is not frum, but it hurts me to see these things being done that I know is just not the right way. My dad and my other, more normal aunt will be saying kaddish at the graveside, but my eldest aunt has lost all trace of her yiddishkeit and denounced it, as she is convinced she is a Christian, "born again", even though her own mother was Jewish. My dad said after the funeral Sunday, he is not speaking to my eldest aunt any more. I am having trouble falling asleep at night knowing my grandmother is alone waiting burial with no one to comfort her. I also keep thinking about her last moments and how my dad and sister and aunts were there. My sister described to me in detail how peaceful it was, but it is just so sad too to say good bye to the one you love.

Here are some memories of my grandma:

My grandma just LOVED feeding the ducks by the pond in Florida. All the time :) she even named them. She named one of them Crazy, but I am not sure how it got that nick name. I remember when she came up from Florida to visit us how we would go into the backyard and scatter bread and watch all the birds come to eat it.

I remember how she used to hang up the clothes on the line in the summer. My sister and I used to walk through it and enjoy the nice smell and the dampness against our skin of the wet clothes on the hot summer days..

I remember the funny stories she used to tell: how the street light that was flickering will change into a butterfly, how eating cold chinese food makes you grow hair on your teeth (LOL). I remember her singing little songs, like tiny bubbles in the air, and also is that all there is.

I remember her love of garage sales. I inherited that from her LOL. She used to make my dad stop at every one we passed when she visited us in NJ

I remember the warm hugs she used to give us, and how soft and gentle she was. She was always smiling. She always laughed. :) she always had these cute sayings, and also spoke fluent Yiddish. I did not know this until just now but apparently she always said the bedtime Shema with my aunt. (the younger one).

I have too many memories to put down here, but suffice it to say my grandmother's passing is a great loss to us all. She had a real spark to her, and even when her health began to decline this past year, she still was smiling and cheerful most of the time.

I wish I had the insight to know my small chat with Grandma last week would be our last. I am glad my dad handed her the phone. There is so much more I would have said had I known it would have been the last time. Never leave things unsaid with anyone. When my grandmother lay in the hospital comatose, and brain dead, my dad held the phone to her ear so I could talk with her. I know her neshama heard me, at least I like to think she heard me. I wish more than anything I could have been there in her final moments along with my family. My heart breaks that there is no one to say kaddish for her for 11 months and that my dad who is earning very little right now, can not really afford to pay someone 600 dollars for saying kaddish. My dad and aunts are so depressed right now. I really wish I could be there with them. Monday my dad is sitting shiva all alone :( one aunt refuses to acknowledge her yiddishkeit, the other is going to a Labour day party. Sigh. :( my sister already took off this week and needs to go back to work monday. I wish I could be there to support my dad. :(

We will miss you Grandma, more than anything. Always know how much we loved you, and your memory will never be forgotten.

In memory of Grandma Aug 4, 1924-Aug 26, 2008

Don't stand by my grave and weep,
For I am not there.
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond's glint in the snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn's rain.
In the soft blush of the morning light
I am the swift bird in flight.
Don't stand by my grave and cry,
I am not there,
I did not die.

Unknown Native American Author

God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be,
So He put His arms around you
And whispered “Come with Me.”
With tearful eyes we watched you suffer
And saw you fade away.
Although we loved you dearly,
We could not make you stay.
A golden heart stopped beating,
Laying loving hands at rest,
God broke our hearts to prove to us
He only takes the best.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Baruch Dayan Emes

Baruch dayan emes. My grandmother passed away today at 11:25 am. My dad had asked me to find a rabbi to come to her bedside yesterday. I phoned my rabbi who told me to call chabad. after an hour of phone calls, and getting all answering machines, I got ahold of an actual person, who told the rabbi of my situation, and without even knowing me in person, but only through voice, he arranged for a Lubavitch rav to come to my grandmother. He said Vidui for her, and a few other prayers. She coded last night 3 times, and then this morning the hospice team came down with her two doctors to make a decision. The rabbi had said it was okay to let her go,, as the doc had mentioned yesterday about no more resuscitation. so the doctor shut off the ventilator this morning, as she had only brain stem activity, and her blood pressure was 60/23, and at one point was like 40/20. she was cold to the touch, non responsive to any stimuli. She passed away very peacefully shortly after the ventilator was shut off. I miss her more than anything. Always appreciate the loved ones you have here on earth. you never know when time is up. I can't even go to the funeral. I can't afford the flight, my family also can't afford the flight. It upsets me that my aunts and dad are waiting to sunday for the funeral, instead of the one or two days you are supposed to bury someone. it was my eldest aunt's decision, and she is quite bossy and controlling. My dad and my other aunt are trying to speak with her, but its too late as my aunt already booked the date. My eldest aunt had converted to born again christianity a long time ago but seems respectful of Judaism, but she wants to play music at the funeral which is very disrespectful and inappropriate. I am sure the Jewish funeral home will not allow this and I told my dad he should tell her they do not play music at Jewish funerals. In fact someone who loses a parent is supposed to refrain from listening to music for 11 months. I know my dad and extended family is not frum, but still. I tried to arrange for my dad to have someone say kaddish for my grandma for 11 months after shiva is over but I can't afford it, its 600 dollars. My rabbi told me to have my dad contact someone in Florida to try to arrange it. I am not sure if he will or not..my rabbi told me its my dad's mitzvah and it has to be him to arrange this.

Anyway, I feel very upset and am going out now. I will post more later.


Sunday, August 24, 2008

My Grandma

It's a quarter to six in the morning. I've been up most the night unable to sleep, and spent half of that crying off and on. Yesterday seemed like a normal day for my 84 year old, K"AH, grandma. She had her hair done, my dad fed her lunch. But then, it started becoming not normal so fast. You never wake up and say today's the last day I will be able to talk to my loved one. Today's the last day I will have with my loved one at home. You don't realize how much time you have or what you could have or should have done until that time has passed and you can no longer do or say these things. My dad fed her lunch, and shortly after lunch my grandma started to throw up. While he was cleaning her up, she had an accident on the other end, after he cleaned that up, she started shaking. My dad asked her if she was feeling alright, why was she shaking? She said she wasn't shaking, and then her eyes rolled back and she collapsed. My dad dialed 911, and the ambulance came within 5 minutes. She was not breathing so the emts shocked her heart. My grandma had a massive heart attack. She coded 3 times at the hospital and with the amount of time it took to get her heart pumped again it was 15 minutes, 15 minutes her brain was deprived of oxygen. They say anything over 5 minutes starts irreversible brain damage. The cardiologist tried to remove the blockage, but it was so solidified that it was impossible and now besides significant brain damage, she has severe heart damage as well. 84 years old. How can her body function like this now? I wonder how her doctor did not notice my grandma had 100 percent blockage in a major artery and a significant blockage in one or two others? Now she lies in Cardiac Care ICU comatose hooked up to life support. Today she is supposed to have a scan to see if there is any brain activity but it does not look good, her eyes are not responsive to light, her body not to any stimuli. The docs say the prognosis is 90 percent not in her favour, but they are not Hashem so maybe they will be wrong. I keep thinking she is just going to wake up and go home again from the hospital. It's so hard being here in Toronto and unable to be with my dad and sister in Florida. I keep thinking, what was the last conversation I had with my grandma this past week??? I don't think I said I love you or discussed anything important, i think she handed the phone back to my dad before I had the chance to say those three words. :( my grandma had severe dementia and it was not easy conversing with her as her personality had become abrupt with the dementia. So now I wait. I wait for the phone call I expect to come at any moment. I cant' sleep, maybe I had 3 hours of it. My dad tells me the doc will need my dad and my aunts to make a decision by Tuesday about the life support. My grandma had a living will. (my parents and extended family are not frum). I feel sick. I wish I could be with my sister and dad at my grandma's bed side. I never got to say good bye. How could one know its the last conversation they will have with someone? even if by some miracle my grandma wakes up, she has significant brain and heart damage.
So daven for her, please, my grandma needs it now more than ever. Being my family is not frum I am not sure of her hebrew name or her mother's name, (my great grandma died before I was born) her english name is florence, so I guess daven for florence bas sarah imeinu.

Friday, August 08, 2008


I am tired of ignorance. I am so tired of certain extended family members telling me #1 does not have Aspergers despite extensive testing by an educational psychologist, and the Autism team at his school. There is a well known pediatric psychiatrist (who also happens to be a rabbi)who goes to my shul who often chats with #1 in the coat room before mincha Friday night. He asked my father in law about #1 and I am not sure what he told him but it was not the truth, that #1 has Asperger's. I am really annoyed. I asked him why didn't you tell him?? and he says he DOESN"t have it, he doesn't have all the symptoms. Cousin so and so's grandson has asperger's and he is very withdrawn and does not even say hi. I told him, you don't need to have ALL the symptoms to have it. I am sick and tired of my mother in law's opinion that because her cousin's grand son has such a severe case then that's how all Aspergers kids are. I am tired of it. I am so fed up its taking all my will power not to call up and yell out of frustration at them. What will it take to get them to understand?? Apparently they know MUCH better than the educational psychologist who spent hours testing him. They know better than the Autism team involved with #1 at school, better than #1's teacher, and better than the principal. Just because they are involved in the special needs community because of my brother in law's rare Wolf-Hirschhorne syndrome, does not make them authorities on EVERY disability or special need. I am mad that my father in law did not tell the psychiatrist at shul about #1's asperger's but I suspect he probably knows #1's on the spectrum by his behaviour and was asking to be helpful. I am annoyed he asked my father in law and not my husband, but my husband was not in the room at the time. I told my hubby next time he sees this rabbi/psychiatrist tell him the truth about #1's Asperger's, or if he doesn't want to mention it first, then if asked, hubby will inform him. I am tired of well meaning people telling me #1 is fine when they do not live with him, are not involved with his education, and only see him on the odd occasion. People should keep their mouths shut about it if they don't understand what SPECTRUM means. My son does not need to have every freaking symptom in the book. He had ENOUGH symptoms that he was diagnosed with it and confirmed by the staff at his school. I am so frustrated with people's big mouths right now. Maybe this rabbi/psychiatrist can confirm to my father in law that he does have aspergers. Maybe that will be enough for my in laws to finally accept the truth after 5 years.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Update on my dad

okay, it turns out my sister made a slight UNDER estimate about how much clonazapam my dad took. it was not 5 mg. it was 20 -1 mg pills, which is 20 mg!! apparently he started having respiratory distress, etc, and my grandmother's nurse put ice on his head and fed him spaghetti instead of doing what any other normal person would do in that situation, which is to get a freaking doctor!! she should have called 911. what the hell is spaghetti going to do for a person who just o.d. on clonazapam??? and wtf is up with the ice on the head?? I am pissed off that the nurse did not bring my father to the emergency room! I spoke to my dad this morning and he said my mom gave him money to get his new prescription filled, for Celexa, as he could no longer afford Paxil he is on the generic equivalent of celexa which is the same thing. So now my dad is back on the SSRI for his depression. so hopefully he will feel better soon. He told me he took out all the pics of my gang and put it on his desk to help him feel cheerful. he said it gives him a reason to live. I still am worried about my dad, because of those two vivid dreams I had two weeks ago, two nights in a row, in which I had received a call about my dad, etc etc. It was so real it was scary. I never told him about this dream, only my sister, as it was a very upsetting dream, and the last 2 times I had a dream like that a few years ago, I woke up to find out someone I knew had passed on (both had terminal cancer, one was lung and one was ovarian). Sometimes I feel like I have a 6th sense. but it freaks me out. two weeks after this dream my dad actually attempted by taking those stupid tranquilizers. I had chalked the weird dreams up to the cipro I was taking for a UTI, which can cause vivid dreams. it was so vivid that when I woke up, it took me a few minutes to realize my dad was alive and had not done away with himself G-d forbid. Even though I had my dad's assurances that he would NOT try to kill himself again, I am still worried. My dad told me he has no health coverage, as he can not find a job right now and can not afford to spend time in the hospital for his depression. he said if I call 911 on him how will he pay the bills? so I told him I don't care, don't give me a reason to figure out how to get an ambulance to where you live from Canada, or get my sis to call, I would rather have a dad then sit back and do nothing. just the fact he is talking that way has me really worried. I hope my dad will find a job soon. I will daven very hard for him. I would appreciate it if you would daven for my dad too, lazar dovid ha Levi ben Florence (I do not know my grandma's Hebrew name, and now she has dementia and I will not find out..so please keep my dad in your prayers. Thanks.

Help me win!! :) Pretty please!

As you know, I am a very avid contest entering person. I am entering an air miles contest to win $5000. You can help me increase my chances by clicking on the link and registering for the contest too! For every person that clicks and enters the contest, I get 10 more entries!! Thanks for your help in advance!! :)

Anyway, in other news, yesterday I got to have a bit of a girls night out with 2 of my friends. We went to second cup and got to shmooze and have yummy treats at the same time :) On my way there, I had stopped at the library, the Doctor Who 3rd season DVD collection I had on hold finally came in. I also had the kite runner DVD and some books for the kids and one for myself. I did the self serve kiosk, and there was some bug in the software and even though it showed my items were checked out, it refused to unlock the kite runner DVD insisting it was one of the Doctor Who ones that were not unlocked, even though it was alreaady unlocked. I was in a big rush as I had to meet my friends, and I just asked a worker to unlock it for me. Then after, when I went to leave, the alarm went off! it said I did not have it out! I DID. I had dropped my receipt all the way back by the kiosk and not one person would pick it up for me even though they were standing on line right next to it! Then this rude nasty russian lady who worked there made me take out all my books, checked them all back in and then rechecked it out. I was so pissed. I told her a. it was not my fault her software was screwed up. B. she was embarrassing me when I did not take a book without checkign it out. c. she was rude about it and I wanted to see her supervisor, that I have been a patron for 5 years and this never happened before. she softened up after that, but I was pissed. when she asked why I was in such a rush I told her I had to be somewhere in 10 minutes. t hen she says its not her fault, and then I said,, no actually it IS. You watched me use the self serve kiosk and saw me having troubule with the DVD unlock feature and then u make me empty out my whole bag with a line of ppl watching, knowing all it was is a damn computer glitch!! I am still pissed about that.

anyway, in the end it all worked out okay. I got my doctor who dvds on loan and met my friends for coffee. Ok, got to change #5's diaper now...Click on that link for me!! :) Thanks :)