Happy New Year!
As it’s been almost TWO months since my last post, I’m starting this new year on the right foot with a fresh blog post. I swear I am literally the laziest person whoever dared to dabble in blogging. But, as the wise Lindsey stated last night before we rang in 2014, “no negativity!” – and she’s right. It’s easy to ramble off all the things you don’t like/aren’t happy about when it comes to X, Y or Z, but we should just as easily ramble off the things we do like/are happy about. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but a little positive reinforcement never hurt anyone, right?
You can’t help but be reflective this time of year when everything from movies and music to even Instagram feeds are turned into “Best Of” lists. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. It’s good to regroup on what you’ve been through and prep yourself for the year to come. 2013 was definitely a trying one for my family, filled with loss and sadness, but it was also a beautiful year filled with new beginnings (weddings! friends with babies!) and hope. I am proud of myself for getting a new job I really love, moving into an apartment in Brooklyn and finally traveling to California and Chicago. 2013 was a busy, exciting year but also one that is forever marred.
My grandma lost a torturous 12-year battle with Lymphoma after suffering a stroke in May… as if the cancer wasn’t enough. Those few weeks and the months leading up to it were excruciating. I really don’t know what my family would have done without each other. The week between her stroke and her passing, we were all on hospital, and then hospice, duty every single day; reminiscing, looking through hundreds of photos, crying or just sitting and waiting. She couldn’t see us or talk to us, but we all knew she could hear us, so we talked a lot. My grandma was such a central part of our entire family that there were – are – an infinite amount of good times to look back on. From the famous 30-person Christmas Eve dinners she used to throw when she lived in “The Queens Village House” (as my family calls it), to her days as the most glamorous dancer you’d ever seen. The list goes on. It’s easier to picture my grandma as the beautiful woman who always loved being in a room full of people, wearing red lipstick even if she was staying in the whole day, than the sick person she unwillingly became. When I sit and think about it, that’s what makes me the most angry. Why does old age have to be so cruel? Why does a person have to lose all of their dignity? Why can’t it be graceful and peaceful? The universe works in mysterious ways though, because she passed away on my Pop Pop’s birthday. He died 16 years ago, so we all agreed that he got the greatest present that day. It’s truly an image I will always hold on to; the two of them being reunited.
While losing my grandma was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face, especially witnessing the toll it took on my mom and uncle, I am lucky to have had such a wonderful grandmother. As she was the only living grandma I had, we were extremely close. When I was little I would spend weekends with her and my Pop Pop at their house in Whitestone and, just for the weekend, I was an only child who got to do everything with her. We would eat out AND get ice cream, go to the hairdresser and spend all day shopping. She also let me drink coffee; a mug filled with mostly milk and sugar with a drop of coffee. My hypothesis is that this is the reason I like coffee really light and sweet. I spent time like that with my grandma well into my teens, and even as I got older and went to college and then got a full-time job, I still loved sleeping at her house or talking to her on the phone.
I’ve always been a glutton for nostalgia, so I wish I could flip a switch and go back to the time I asked her, “Grandma, why do all old ladies have short hair and wear glasses?” or the time I told her neighbor that she had food stuck in her dentures, but it doesn’t work that way. Instead, I have a plethora of memories to think about and for that I am grateful.
She could have easily passed for a Hollywood movie star
Me as a flower girl in her wedding