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The other day, I came across a photo of my grandmother, or Nana as we used to call her. Born in Latvia, she immigrated to the U.S. at the turn of the last century to escape the pogroms. After that, she lived in Brooklyn alongside other Jewish immigrants. Nana was the kindest woman and one of my fiercest allies. Before her death, she gave my mom her wedding ring to hold for me when I got married. I was living in San Francisco when my grandmother died. 20  years later, I’m still haunted by the fact that I didn’t fly back for her funeral. What excuse could I possibly have had? I can no longer remember. With a heavy heart, I’ve had to forgive myself. And I hope somewhere in the astral, she and my parents do, too. 

Sign by Olivia Steele


10 comments for “Grace”

  1. Gigi says:

    Within a 3 week period I did 2 things that to this day I still regret. First my Mom had called me at work on a Monday and wanted me to pick up dinner. My sister had told me I could not do that and to not visit Mom unless she cooked. I think my sister felt my Mom was slacking off and that was bad for her health, so I turned down my Mom and did not go visit her. The following Monday she passed away.

    Two weeks after Mom had passed away my dog Wags had to be put down he was 14. I took him to the vets and the vet was out working on horses and the vet tech asked if I wanted to wait, I said no. I was numb from my Mom’s passing and could not take watching Wags get put down.

    To this day I feel I failed them both when they both needed me.

    • wendy says:

      Oh, Gigi – that’s a lot of weight to carry. What would it take for you to forgive yourself.

      • Gigi says:

        The post was the first time I ever admitted that to anyone.
        And after I wrote it I felt a little better. The kind and thoughtful responses made me feel even better.

        I really do appreciate the kind responses, you all are the best!

  2. Lisa Miller says:

    I think everybody has instances like yours in their past. They try as best they can to forgive themselves and go forward – maybe doing for others. I still feel bad that I wasn’t with my mother when she passed away. I still feel someone should have been holding her hand as she left this earth. But I’ll go forward and try my best to be a better person.

    • wendy says:

      I’d been with my Dad hours before he died, but was not with him when he took his last breath. The Hospice nurse told me that dying is a solitary act, and that sometimes our loved ones need to be alone to be able to finally pass.

  3. Claire says:

    Gigi: I had a dog I had to have put to sleep less than two months after I adopted her because I discovered she had health problems that could not be cured and she wouldn’t have a good quality of life. It was the first death of a pet I had to deal with as an adult and I had no family or friends nearby and I was scared so I left her in the hands of the vet tech and did not stay. I have felt guilty about it ever since (and a bit angry with the vet clinic for not taking a bit of time to talk to me about how it’s not so bad and could be better for both the dog and me to be present the entire time). When my precious Biscuit, who I had for 9 years, had to be put to sleep two weeks ago I stayed with him until he was gone and I finally felt like I forgave myself a bit for leaving the first dog, Sadie, behind. I guess I’ve learned with time and experience to be present with grief and let it take its course however it unfolds. I grieved Biscuit more than any other loss I’ve ever experienced and allowed myself to feel it all. I miss him but I’m surprised at how just two weeks later I feel much better already.

  4. Gigi says:

    Claire, I am so sorry about your dear Biscuit. Like you I did stay with my dog Abby who was 19 and it did help me and her both. After about 5 weeks I was blessed with Tula.
    I have a silly belief that dogs when they pass on send us a new one not to replace them but to heal our hearts and also they know we have more love to give.
    Thanks for your story it made me feel better about Wags.

    And Lisa’s comments also made me feel better, thank you!

    I am volunteering at our annual Greek Festival on Friday, Mom would have been proud!

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