Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A life well lived

Remember when I wrote that nothing good can happen when your phone rings at 2:23 a.m.? Well, I believe the same thing can also apply during the day when your mother tries to reach you at the home office twice in rapid succession. As it was, I was sitting in on a series of phone conferences when she called and I couldn't break away, but seeing her name and number come up twice was enough to raise my antenna.

And sure enough, she had sad news - because she clearly hasn't had enough of it in recent months. My Auntie Freda had passed away. Her husband, the late Uncle Benny, was my maternal grandfather's brother. She was the last of her generation, a truly good soul who was a constant, trusted presence in my young life and, later, the life of my wife and kids.

Logic tells me I should focus on celebrating her life, that I should be thankful we had her for as long as we did: 94 years. But emotion takes over and reminds me that we lost another sweet and gentle member of our family today. I wish I could find a way to hold onto the happy, because each day it seems to get just a little more difficult.


Obituary - originally published in the Dec. 21, 2009 Montreal Gazette
Freda (Perlman) Kaplansky
KAPLANSKY, Freda (nee Perlman) Peacefully in her ninety-fifth year, on Tuesday, December 15, 2009, at Extendicare Starwood Nursing Home in Ottawa. Wife of the late Benny Kaplansky. Loving and very devoted mother and mother-in-law of Marvin and Lynn, Ada and the late Stanley Tarnofsky. Cherished Bubbie of Dan and Rena, Jodie, and Lisa and Steven. Proud great-grandmother of Carlee and Skylar. Sister of the late Becky Glustein and the late Solly Perlman. The family would like to thank the staff of Starwood Nursing Home for their compassionate care over the past year. A private graveside service took place on Sunday, December 20th. Arrangements entrusted to Paperman & Sons.


Anonymous said...

So sorry Carmi. It's hard to lose a family member; harder still when it comes in waves and hardest yet at the holidays. I don't know why life levels these challenges at us; I only know that no one is immune and in the end, the same march of time that brings all this pain also continues marching to bring us joy. I'm praying for you and yours.

lissa said... heart goes out to you and your family. There's no such thing as "should" when we are faced with the finality of a life, even (or maybe especially?) a life lived well and lived long. So close on the heels of your dad's passing, this just digs deeper into a wound already open.

You have already begun to celebrate your aunt's life by sharing her with us. Mourning her, and feeling the pain as much as you are, those are natural and sincere emotions. Allow yourself to feel it.

And're not alone.

Hugs to you and your beautiful family. You'll all turn the corner sometime in 2010. Right now, it's just too difficult. And that's okay. Those of us who have been there understand.

Love and peace.

kenju said...

I'm sorry, Carmi. But unfortunately, the older we get, the more family members we lose, until finally we are the oldest, and our youngsters watch us for signs of aging and on-coming death. (Didn't mean to preach; as if you didn't know that already). But coming to that point in life is always a shock, I think.

Pamela said...

A true celebration of life when someone makes it to 94 -- and is still considered a sweet member of the family.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we'll ever get used to losing loved ones. I'm thankful that she had "a life well lived." May the same be said about each of us.
It's been a couple of months, hasn't it?

Anonymous said...

That should have read: a tough couple of months

Mojo said...

It's always tough to lose someone close. Tougher still when the loss comes to someone, or a family of someone's, who feel as keenly and deeply as you and yours do. There are times when I wonder just how much more can possibly be waiting, that it has to get better, right?

And it does. Get better. I swear. That's cold comfort just now I know, but I hope it's some comfort.

Lissa said it well when she said there are not "shoulds". That applies to everything really, but especially in dealing with loss.

My very best to you and yours in this time of grief, and I'm sure there will be waves of good vibration rippling through the blogosphere and elsewhere headed your way.

Shalom, my friend.

David Edward said...

right with you, friend. I will hold the reigns of tomorrow while you do what you have to today, to get through it with your family. There is a brighter day as surely as the sun will shine, days will lengthen and Spring will come again.

G. Harrison said...

a life well lived deserves to be celebrated when the time feels right. i bet you could put a lovely piece of prose together for a family occasion. we do have words that will live on.


torontopearl said...

I'm sorry about the loss of this cherished family member, Carmi.
Your aunt's death becomes inevitably a reminder of other pertinent losses in your life -- namely your dear dad -- and it's something you have to work through.
And yes, with the good memories, we do try to smile through our tears...
Wishing you and your family continued strength.

carmilevy said...

Thanks, everyone. I've been reading your comments very slowly this afternoon, and they've each brought me immense comfort.

This remains an extraordinarily difficult time for me and my family so many reasons, and I do hope that 2010 brings some relief. I get that good people are sometimes challenged as a way of testing their character. But I could live without the validation if it meant fewer sleepless nights.

Onward...and thank you all again.