About Me

I am a second-career teacher. In my other life, I crunched numbers as an accountant. Probably would have made a great math teacher had the thought occurred to me. No matter, I'm where I'm supposed to be; teaching third grade. Before that, 2nd grade and before that kindergarten. I have 2 grown daughters, 2 poodles, and 1 hubby. I live and work on Long Island.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Nine Days Apart


At the second funeral, the rabbi said they were soul mates. My dad couldn’t live without her so he followed her nine days later.

She had brain cancer. We all thought she beat the lung cancer and of course the colon cancer all those years ago. But this time cancer had other plans. Doctors said treatment wouldn’t cure her and would completely destroy the quality of her remaining 3 months of life.

She lived those last months under hospice care in a nursing home. He was there too…congestive heart failure and a host of other complications that he didn’t have to die from. She charmed the nurses, the orderlies, the aides, their kids who came to visit, and me. She was a difficult broad but an easy patient. She let me do her nails, brush her hair, stroke her soft cheek, play Andre Bocelli CDs for her, help her with her toileting. He charmed the girls too..he was a difficult patient; refusing to admit he needed any help at all. He let me read the news to him but he was just being polite; he just didn’t care that much about anything really, at least not the way he cared so passionately when he was so much more….alive.

They died in the fall between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. The period of shiva was cut short on account of the High Holy Days.

I said Kaddish for them for eleven months. It comforted me; helped me feel close to them; I knew they’d be proud and honored that I did that for them.

It’s been seven and one half years since their passing. I miss them more as the days go by; as their granddaughters accomplish more; as I understand them more. I miss them more when I attend funerals; on their birthdays; on my kids’ birthdays; when I visit the cemetery; when I think of how much like them I am.

I just miss them.

12 comments:

  1. Rissa, I'm so sorry. It's so hard to lose one parent, and I can't even imagine losing two so close together. My dad has been gone almost 20 years. And I still miss him. I don't think it's any less, I'm just used to the ache. Your last line captures it perfectly.

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    1. Thank you Carol. We all belong to the same club of which none of us want to be a member. Getting used to the ache is an apt description.
      xo

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  2. I felt your heart in this slice. Your descriptors helped me to know your parents, which made thm valuable to me as well.

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  3. Rissa, This is such a heartfelt post. As Carol, I can not imagine losing both parents so close together. I loved your description of both parents...but especially your mother...being a good patient and playing Andre Bocelli for her. I lost my mother three years ago...she lived with me for 12 years...and I do miss her. Maybe that is why I have so many Maxine stories...that is really the reason I started my blog...to honor her stories. I miss my dad too, but he died so long ago, and I did not have the honor of living with him his last 12 years. Thanks so much for this post...and know that you have touched many hearts. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

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    1. Jackie, thank you for your kind words. I read your post today and will leave a comment there, not wanting to duplicate it here. It's up to us to keep the stories of our parents alive.
      xo

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  4. My mom has been gone about 7 years. My dad just over a year. I finally remember that I can't call Mom on the phone, but I am still tempted to call Dad sometimes. Today I didn't know what to write about. I am going to write a story about Dad. Your heartfelt words touched me today. Thank you.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean...I cherish the moments that I forget they are gone and get ready to call them.
      Thank you.
      xo

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  5. I'm so touched by you words about your parents. Your words flowed and sounded like we were sitting together have a conversation. Your last paragraph had me choking back tears. Very powerful, Rissa.

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    1. Diana, that is such a powerful response. I am grateful for it.
      xo

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  6. My mom passed 24 years ago and my dad almost 10 and yes, I still miss them. How difficult it was for you to lose both of them so close. I find that prayers and memories make things easier, but as you said "I Still Miss them".

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  7. What writing today. I hear love and struggle. I like how you contrasted your parents with each other and how your words are honest and sparse, focused on the actions. My parents are aging. I know that road we are on ends and I keep trying to slow the car to stretch out the time it takes to get there.

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  8. What a story today! My dad has been gone for 7 years and I miss him every day. I can't even imagine losing both so close together. Hold tight to your memories. They are precious.

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