Remember these flowers we planted? I'd been trying to be pretty faithful about watering them but then this past week or so, they hadn't been watered at all. And it hasn't rained. And this is what they look like now. Pathetic, brown, and all limp.
My grandmother passed away this past Monday and between a funeral, and my
mom, my grandfather and my uncle sitting shiva - the Jewish week of
mourning - and running back and forth between my house, my mom's house, day camp
and Shoprite (always with the Shoprite, I know), watering the flowers got bumped
way down the list. And that makes me sad. So did my diet, but if you ask my cousin who has been staying in my parents' house all week, it's not my fault. We are genetically predisposed to tasting everything and anything that makes it's way into the kitchen. You know, just to see if it's good. A little taste. Or a whole cake. There's really such a fine line between the two.
But I digreess. My flowers needed me, so this morning my four-year-old and I watered them. We doused them, almost drowning them, all the while hoping to revive the pretty flowers we worked so hard to plant.
Spending the week trying to explain to my kids with many questions that
Bobby Judy ("Bobby" being the yiddish word for grandma) had died, that
no, she wasn't coming back, that no, she doesn't have a cellphone and that no,
we can't email her and that no, we also can't mail her a letter, has been
exhausting. We haven't done any projects in weeks, since before Bobby Judy
entered into hospice care. We haven't baked, we haven't glued and we haven't
painted - and I know that that's the last thing Bobby Judy would want. She
liked to do all of those things. She always loved to hear about the projects we
did and the cookies we were taste testing. And she was always the first in the
line of the brave souls who would taste whatever weirdo thing I mixed up* in the
So yeah, this morning, we tried to get back into it. And since it was such
a nice morning outside, we went out and watered the flowers that had seen better
Can flowers be brought back to life? I don't know. All I can do is try. I
can water them and watch them and water them again when they've been in the
blazing sun for too long. Can Bobby Judy come back? The answer, as I have
explained to the kids over and over during this past week is that no, she can't
be brought back. I can't bring Bobby Judy back so my kids can call her on the
phone, but like with my flowers, I can make sure that their memories of her are
watered and watched and watered again, not so much with a watering can but with
pictures and stories and taste-testings of her recipes. And even if their young
memories of her become withered like my neglected flowers, I can try to bring
them back to life by reminding them of who she was and her legacy to them.
That's what she always called the kids, "my legacy, children of my body".**
So now my little legacies have a lot to do - they have to remember and to
pass it on. My little legacies now have a legacy of their own to carry. And I
believe that that is the greatest gift she could have passed on to my kids, the
memories and the legacy of a great-grandmother.
*or mixed out, for those in the know.
**And she also used to always say that if the kids came from school or
camp with so much as a scratch on their heads- and I should inspect them - that
she would take out whoever it was who scratched them. And she would have too.