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And it's only Tuesday!
We're only a couple of days into the week, and it's already been an eventful one, full of some nice highs, and one severe low.

First, there are two birthday girls celebrating today. Happy Birthday to two wonderful ladies, itsaslashything and sorrelchestnut! You're both such kind, loving women, and I'm so glad to know you both. May you have the best birthdays ever, filled with family, friends, love and amazing gifts!

I just got back from seeing my sister's new apartment in Queens. It's huge, 3 bedrooms, 1 and a half baths. It's really nice, Dad and I need to find a place like that. He says we only need a 2 bedroom, which is technically true, but it's hard to find a 2 bedroom with more than 1 bathroom, and with 5 cats and my father's bathroom issues, I definitely think we need a second bathroom.

On the way, we stopped at Target to pick up some kitten food to bring to my sister, and my father told me to go pick out the Heroes DVD set, and he'd buy it for me. Score! I got the special set, with the Paley Festival DVD, and it only came to forty eight bucks. Dad told me this would be part of my birthday present, which is fine with me. I think either Smallville season 6 or Supernatural season 2 will make up the rest of my gift, I just have to decide. That's the way we do birthday (and Chanukah) presents in my family, strange as it sounds. We tell each other exactly what we want, and then pretend to be surprised when we get it. It's a system that works out really well.

Also, Bravo has been having marathons. Today, all morning and afternoon, was Project Runway season 1, and tomorrow, from 9am to 9pm is season 2 of Top Chef, which I will record to watch later. I'm completely obsessed with both of those shows now.

Now for the sad part of the week. Yesterday my father, my uncle and I went to the headstone store and bought a stone for Mom. It will say her name, the dates, and beloved wife, mother and sister. There will also be a Hebrew expression on the bottom, something along the lines of "may her light shine forever". It's a double stone, since my father bought a double plot, and will cost about 3 grand. Luckily, my father only had to put down a $500 deposit. The balance isn't due until the stone is ready, sometime around Thanksgiving. Hopefully Mom's death benefits will have arrived by then, the union is giving Dad a whole lot of grief about when they're going to pay. After the stone is ready (which takes a few months, they have to quarry the granite in Vermont and then ship it to Long Island for the engraving), they'll pour the foundation in the cemetery. Technically, we should be ready for the unveiling in December, but we'll probably put it off until spring, when the weather is better.

Having to do this was indescribable. It really hit home, that Mom is gone. To see all of those headstones displayed, and realizing we'll soon be putting one up for Mom, was a little surreal. I still miss her so much, and I know that will never go away, but I hope the pain will dull in time. I'm not quite at the point where I only remember the happy times, I still think of how she looked at the end, but I'm trying to be hopeful that those memories will fade soon.

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We tell each other exactly what we want, and then pretend to be surprised when we get it. It's a system that works out really well.

That's a fine family tradition that we employ at my house, too!

And I wish I knew what to say, Andi love. But here's a hug.


Hugs always help, sweetie. *snuggles*


The sad memories will fade, hon. Just be patient a little longer.

I think they will, too, eventually. And I can look back at some of the happier times now, and I couldn't do that when first passed. So it's a little progress, which is better than none at all.

It's the little things that hurt the most, though. I'll try to remember some recipe she made, or the name of an extended family member, or some Hebrew or Yiddish expression. When I come up blank, my first thought is always, always, to ask Mom. She'll know. Then it hits me that I can't ask her, and it's like being stricken with a very sharp pain all over again.

my father told me to go pick out the Heroes DVD set, and he'd buy it for me.

How sweet of him *g*

We tell each other exactly what we want, and then pretend to be surprised when we get it

We do it the same way in my family. Or, say, we make a list and then we pick stuff from said list. That way, it's a surprise of sorts, but never a 'bad' one - and people never take the risk of buying something the others already have. Though we usually do add a little unlisted present for the surprise *g*

I still miss her so much, and I know that will never go away, but I hope the pain will dull in time.

I guess the pain never really goes away but it does fade and dull; that's how life works, doesn't it? And I do think that when you lose someone, the only real healer is time... and after a while I also believe that the good memories really do come back and just stick. I know it was like that when I lost my grandparents. Obviously, as much as I love and was close to them, losing them isn't like losing either of your parents but I do hope that with time, you'll feel less pain *hugs tight*

Dad's always doing sutff like that. He's a big softie, although he can be rather gruff, and even nasty, sometimes. He has a very short fuse, but his anger passes quickly, fortunately.

The "pick out exactly what you want" philosophy always works out well in our family. When I was a kid, we would make huge lists for our birthdays and Chanukah. Now we just say what we'd like, and the rest of the family buys it. This works particularly well in my sister's case, she always gave the worse presents. Now she knows to get me a gift card from Barnes and Noble, and I know to give her cash. Cash is always an acceptable substitute, if the appropriate gift isn't known. I know some people think giving cash is a terrible gift, but my family isn't among them. If you don't feel comfortable telling someone what you'd like, then you should at least have the option to go out and buy it yourself.

Losing my grandparents was horrible. It might not be as technically terrible as losing as a parent, but it's still a devastating loss. My paternal grandfather died before I was born, and we were so estranged from my father's family that no one even bothered to tell us that his mother had died. We weren't close to her, anyhow, so our grief when we finally found out was more for my father than anything else.

My maternal grandparents were a much different matter. We all lived together, in a two family house, until they retired to Florida when I was 15. There was such a closeness there, even when they moved down South, that their deaths, in 1998 and 2003, were devastating. It was the worst, of course, for my mother. My grandma had actually been moved back to New York when her illness became severe. She moved into my uncle's house, and my mother was over there alone with her when she died, and found her in the morning. She died of lung cancer, which I'm sure effected how my mother dealt with her own lung cancer (denial, basically.)

I'm always delighted when I see people who were very close to their grandparents. It's so not always the case nowadays, is it?

I know my grandparents had a very important role in my life - losing them was a terrible loss. Losing my maternal grandparent was maybe the hardest in the sense that he was the last one left, and also the new cancer that killed him lasted a little more than a year and we saw him decline and decline and we knew there was nothing to be done, except be here for him and take care of everything that we could. I'm glad we did it, too, as difficult as it was...

I still cherish the thought of them and actually think about them a lot.

A lot of people underestimate how important grandparents are nowadays, I think. I would have been a very different person without my grandparents, that's for sure.

It sounds like the situation with your grandfather's illness was very similar to that of my mother's. She was diagnosed in July of 2006 (though she had been sick for a good six months before she finally went to the doctor), and by October she started to fade. By the last two months, January and February of this year, she was just a shadow of a person. Having to watch something like that, whether it's a parent or grandparent, is just devastating.

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