Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Getting Through It All

A lot of people have been calling, e-mailing and text messaging their condolences. I'm sorry that I have not been able to respond to each person individually, but I really do appreciate it. Thank you all.

Services were held yesterday for my grandfather. I was surprised but very pleased that jailnurse (Tim) and gdgonzo (Raz) were there. While my mother had always said that he had touched a lot of people's lives, I was really surprised at just how many were there. All of them came on short notice (it is Jewish custom that the funeral and burial occur immediately after the death), many of them came despite illness or injury. When I addressed the assembly, I was looking at a chapel that was almost completely full. There were people there I have never known that were very clearly stricken by his death.

And at 1:30 in the afternoon, he was interred at Elmont Cemetary. I really can't express how I felt then because it just doesn't really translate into spoken or written language. We had sat with his body before they came to pick it up, we had selected his coffin, a few of us identified him and my mother and I spoke our eulogies at the service. But this was the moment that had the most amount of finality. Watching him lowered into the ground and seeing earth falling onto the coffin and knowing once and for all that Stanley Harris Rubin, Shmu'el Hersh ben Shlomo is no more.

We went back to the house afterwards so my grandmother, mother and uncle could begin their shivah. Since it is shabbos, they aren't strictly sitting shivah for today, but I'm heading over there during the day to see what I can do, as it is still a very intense period. While they aren't observing the more gnarly shivah customs - they're taking showers every day, for example - on the whole they're performing the ritual, which means there are certain things they can not do for themselves. It is rough because everybody keeps expecting to see him sit in his usual seat, or walk by. His voice is cacaphonous in its absence.

It is, of course, hardest on my grandmother, who is constantly finding things that remind her of him; they had over fifty years in that house, and his personality is all over it. We are filling the house so that she is not alone, but she is alone now, and she knows it. However, we have all been there to do what we can and her friends have been great.

In writing my eulogy for my grandfather, I was not effusive with golden praise, I simply described who he was. He made exaggeration of his positive qualities unneccesary. This was something I know is clear to anybody that have heard me speak of him in the past. No, he wasn't perfect, but he was damn close. It actually made writing the eulogy harder because I found myself thinking about how since individuals in death often take on a more angelic aspect than the living, words spoken after a death become suspect.
"You know George?"

"Yeah, I know George, the rat bastid."

"He died."

"Well, he was such a nice rat bastid, always treatin' the girls that ran his numbahs for him kinda okay sometimes."

Tonight I have a ticket to see ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead. Since I am not technically sitting shivah myself, I'm not bound to the ban on live music, and while I will respect the customs for my grandmother's sake, if you want me to cut music out of my life for a week you can go fuck yourself anyway. I'm going to go to the show and have a good time. I want to go and I need it.
Tags: family
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