I was woken up at least four times this morning by the phone ringing and people telling me important things. I don't remember who I talked to or what they said. I do remember my mom calling and like in a dream, because maybe I still was, telling me my grandmother was in the hospital, about to go into surgery, because of an overnight emergency. Something to do with her intestines. Would I like to speak to her, she has a tube down her throat.
Shuffle, phone passed to savta. I don't remember what I said, I don't remember what she said, I just remember that it was of utmost importance for me to speak to her. I think I told her I love her. She had a tube down her throat. I think she told me the same thing.
All day long, when the phone rang and I saw my sister's or my mother's number, I got very scared and my head started to hurt. It kept pounding. She was out of surgery, in intensive care, but not breathing on her own. Apparently that was normal, for her age, her heart condition.
When I was 17, completely unconnected to grandparents or life or death, I had a somewhat nervous breakdown. Less nervous than empty. Then release, like water gushing from a broken cork. I didn't feel anything for three days. I went to school, I think I even talked, but I didn't feel. I didn't know who I was. I didn't recognize my body. I just watched, and went through the motions, and didn't do anything weird or crazy. Just was. Three days later my mother, looking into my unfeeling, nervously-breaking-down face, told me my grandfather was very sick and in the hospital.
I bawled. I felt more than I'd felt in three days, more than I'd felt in three weeks, three months, three years.
He died a year and a half later,on my second day living in Montreal. I wasn't near anybody in my family. I wasn't ready.
I'm not ready. My grandmother is 78 years old, and she still works full-time. She's a Holocaust survivor, and probably the most hard-working person I know. One of the most alive. She was always more like a mother than a grandmother, and only now do I finally recognize that she is getting old. She, who's been through worse in her life than I could imagine and still always comes out beautiful, if neurotic, is getting tired.
But she's alive. We're supposed to take a trip together, with my mother and my sister. That, I'm ready for.