Past Posts

July 02, 2011

Bubbe is still gone.

Adria on her wedding day


The time since Bubbe passed away, about two weeks ago now, has gone quickly and without much notice. Jessica lost her mother, I lost one of my best friends, Arthur and Lewis and Netta and Bailey lost their beloved grandmother. I wish I were able to cry more as of late and feel almost guilty about how well and happy we've all be doing. I miss her and feel myself trying not to think about how sad it is sometimes. How sad it is for Arthur, who loved her so much. He wondered recently who will make birthday cakes now that Bubbe died.




Arthur grew up going to her house every Saturday while Jessica taught cello lessons. Adria told a little story once about how he had stayed the night at her house. He woke up super early and crawled into her bed to snuggle. She remembered him driving a little match box car over the bumps in the covers making driving sounds and how wonderful that was for her, to just lay there and listen to him play in the early morning. That was her memory.

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I said a short bit at Adria's memorial service that I thought I'd post here as a way to archive it:

I've never loved someone so weird so much. Adria never really answered a question, never really said thank you (although I do remember a couple times), never said goodbye. I think that’s fascinating and weird and endearing. I learned to love all that about her. And maybe I had no choice, but I'd rather have no choice in loving someone with Adria than with anyone else in the world.

During one brutally hot year I told Bubbe one day she was going to come home and I'd have bought and installed some big ass air conditioner in her window. She lowered her head, scowled and made some threat about how there better not be or she'll kill me. It's a big risk, to completely railroad your mother in law. But as I've learned over time, if Bubbe doesn't clearly say no, she means yes. 

So I snuck in while she was at work and installed the thing on an especially hot day, turned it on high and left. I called her that night to ask her if she feeling hot. "Very funny," she said and then asked me about the kids. No objection, no thank you. I was so happy that night knowing that I had done that nice thing for Bubbe.

A couple years later she was complaining about how uncomfortable her bed was and I teased her that one day she might come home and have a new bed, the nice metal one she admired once at IKEA. She lowered her head, scowled and didn't say no.

Meher Baba, the Indian spiritual guru my father is a follower of, said 'real happiness lies in making others happy.' For me, real happiness lied in making Bubbe happy.

I will be thinking about her the night Obama gets re-elected and when all the freshman republican lose their seats. Chatting with her about politics was a real joy, especially during the last presidential election. Her skepticism about humans in general tested my naive sense that people are generally good. While on some level her and I were total opposites that way, we both reveled in our differences and enjoyed the banter. 

But perhaps most importantly to both of us, Adria was the only person who loved Jessica and our children as much as I do. She saw Arthur and Lewis as two perfect little boys and made room for them to be fully themselves.  Even the way she'd talk with them, in a normal voice full of respect and interest in their life. I think just being near her gave Art and Lew confidence and made them feel safe and happy. “Bubbe loves me no matter what, even if I'm a little shit sometimes. She still loves me!” What a gift.

When Adria was getting sick I told her that I would do everything I could to take care of Jessica and the children. She said ‘I know’ as if she expected me to say as much. But I really wanted her to know that because that’s the way I plan to keep her memory alive for the rest of my life, to love her daughter and grandchildren as best I can.

Bubbe getting a cheek pat.


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Jessica's Uncle Brian also spoke during the service and read some poems, including these two. The first from Emily Dickinson, the second from Emily Dickinson Parker, Jessica's sister (who was named after the poet).

The Last Night That She Lived
by Emily Dickinson

The last Night that She Lived
It was a Common Night
Except the Dying--this to us
Made Nature different

We noticed smallest things--
Things overlooked before
By this great light upon our Minds
Italicized--as 'twere.

As We went out and in
Between Her final Room
And Rooms were Those to be alive
Tomorrow were, a Blame

That Others could exist
While She must finish quite
A Jealousy for Her arose
So nearly infinite--

We waited while She passed--
It was a narrow time--
Too jostled were Our Souls to speak
At length the notice came.

She mentioned, and forgot--
Then lightly as a Reed
Bent to the Water, struggled scarce--
Consented, and was dead--

And We-We placed the Hair--
And drew the Head erect--
And then an awful leisure was
Our faith to regulate.

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"Love is Like Garlic"
by Emily Dickinson Parker

Love is like garlic
It's good for you!
it's nutritious
and keeps evil at bay --
vampires and werewolves
(to name a few)
And the warmth does stay
on your breath
and in your breast
(your heart, that is).
Love is like garlic,
you can warm it up,
it gets soft and then,
you can spread it around!
Love is like garlic
not only for good health
and staying power,
but because it makes
our family flower.

The whole Parker family (Jim, Emily, Jessie and Adria)

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