A friend recently lost her father. When I heard the news, my thoughts shifted to her children. I can’t imagine losing a parent, but I do know what it’s like to lose a grandparent. I was ten when my grandma died and her death triggered a period of rapid upheaval in my life. What got me through those tough days, besides my mom and the grief counseling she sent me to, was reading.
I don’t know how to tell my friend how saddened I am by her loss and how I can only imagine the grief that comes with losing a parent. I don’t know that I would be able to offer much support or comfort. What I do know is that books have always been my anchor, so I sent a few of my favorites to her kids, explaining in the note that books helped me cope with the grief and that I hope these gave some comfort to her children.
I don’t think about my grandma very often, as her death is still hard for me to talk about, even after almost 20 years. For the first 15 years, I couldn’t go to her grave without dissolving into tears and having to be led back to the car by Mom. The year I began my conversion classes, I visited her grave and recited the Mourner’s Kaddish. That was the first time I didn’t leave in tears. I left still feeling sad, but the words I read from the Mishkan T’filah wrapped around me in a comforting embrace.
I still miss you Grandma.