My whirlwind tour through the US, life, death, apartments, moving, and overdue projects for work
Thursday, June 29: My grandmother passed away. (This is the grandmother who lived in California whom I was always flying to see. I've been spending Rosh Hashanah, the first days of Pesach, and other assorted holidays and vacations with her since my grandfather passed away in 2004. Even before that, I spent a lot of time there--every summer growing up, and winter breaks after my parents made aliya in 2000.)
Friday, June 30: I went to work to try to tie up loose ends, and I bought a three-legged airline ticket online in the last few hours before Shabbat in consultation with siblings flying in from Washington, DC and NYC, and with mother and aunt flying from California, to try to match all flights times and airports as closely as possible without going bankrupt.
Shabbat, June 30-July 1: I spent Shabbat in a daze. I got invited out for dinner. I don't remember what I did for lunch. I think I ate canned salmon and baby carrots at home alone.
Sunday, July 1: I flew from New York to Omaha via Chicago for my grandmother's funeral on less than three hours of sleep. I took a nap, changed into funerary clothing, wrote a eulogy in less than an hour (less than half an hour?) in consultation with my mother, brother, and sister, and delivered it. I helped bury my grandmother next to my grandfather and my cousin.
Monday, July 2: I flew from Omaha to California via Houston to be with my mother, aunt, and uncles as they sat shiva. I didn't do so much except for some dishes and some grocery shopping, but was happy to be there. I heard a few good stories about my grandmother. I came down with a cold that I had apparently caught on one of my four flights of the previous two days.
Tuesday, July 3: I did not celebrate my birthday. I did fast all day.
Wednesday, July 4: My sister and I found the stars and stripes that my grandfather used to fly from in front of the house each Fourth and we hung them proudly, probably for the last time, in memory of my grandfather the veteran.
Thursday, July 5-Friday, July 6: more shiva. I had brought work with me but I couldn't bring myself to do it, even though I knew that this would result in near-disaster upon my return to New York. (It did.)
Saturday, July 7: quasi-shiva followed by starting to go through books in the house to take home
Sunday, July 8: I helped my mom and aunt go through my grandmother's clothing, remaining jewelry, scarves, sewing drawer, letters, books, and some other things in the house. I took what I wanted. I tagged the furniture that I don't necessarily ever expect to have a place for.
Monday, July 9: I took a red-eye (I got a window seat! I slept for 3 or 4 hours!) back to New York, arriving delayed, went home, showered, and went to work.
Tuesday, July 10-Thursday, July 12: I worked full-time on a huge project at work and desperately sought a place to move into by August 1, calling 20+ landlords, pounding the pavement, calling brokers with outrageous fees, seeing apartments with and without peeling paint and major structural issues, the whole bit. I was exhausted. I wasn't sleeping too well at night from the stress. I started questioning my sanity. I started hoping I wasn't putting my job in jeopardy. I didn't make time to write in my journal or eat well. The internet and phones both stopped working at work on Wednesday evening and didn't come back until this past Monday afternoon, greatly hampering my work. My mother was in town, staying with my brother, and she came along to see some of the apartments with me. I pondered the advisability of taking one's mother along to view apartments, only because it might imply that one's mother is financing said apartment, which, in this case, is not at all true.
Friday, July 13: I had a meeting with my boss during which he expressed that I needed to show more "face time," worked at Starbucks for three hours on a work project that was due by Friday afternoon. I left Starbucks, saw four apartments, e-mailed the work project in at 7 pm from a neighborhood five miles from my home, jumped into the subway with my mother, and made it home before Shabbat with time to spare. Go, MTA!
Shabbat, July 13-14: I hosted my mother for Shabbat. I had gotten us invited out for both meals in advance, which is probably the smartest thing I have ever done in my entire life. I went to shul three times. I took a nap. My mother made me coffee. It was lovely. I tried not to talk about apartments at all. I was never so grateful to be away from phone and internet and talking/thinking about money. I also got one blister on the bottom of each foot, which makes walking about as painful as it sounds. The sandals were comfortable, but the insoles apparently had small seams on them that, heh, rubbed the soles of my feet the wrong way.
Saturday, July 14: I started packing my room as soon as Shabbat ended. My mother and I stayed up until 1:30 am packing and barely made a dent. Actually, we weren't packing so much as going through boxes and disposing of things that I don't need.
Sunday, July 15: My future roommate and I saw four apartments available on August1, only one of which was suitable, and a better (that is, cheaper) apartment that wasn't available until August 15. I went out to dinner with some relatives and had dessert with more relatives.
Monday, July 16: My future roommate and I signed the lease on the apartment not available until August 15.
Monday, July 16-Thursday, July 19: I worked hard at work all day on the project for which I had completed phase 1 on Friday and sort-of completed Phase 2 on Wednesday, called movers and storage companies from work and compared their prices, and sorted and packed with my mother almost every night. We went to have dinner with friends on Tuesday night, which meant no packing.
Thursday, July 19: I called my current landlord and obtained permission to remain in the apartment until August 2 without risking losing the security deposit (lease ends July 31). My mother left town to return home. I will miss her. It is 9:39 pm. I am at work working on another project (not of Phase 1 and Phase 2, above) that was due by 5 pm on Wednesday, July 18. After 5 pm on Wednesday, July 18, I realized that I had not even started it. I asked for an extension until the middle or end of next week and was granted one until the end of the day tomorrow (Friday). I agreed to work on Sunday, July 29, even though I am moving that week and Phase 3 of aforementioned project is due--really, really due--on August 2, the same day that I am now scheduled to move. My boss asked me why I wasn't getting anything done on time. I managed not to start crying. I question my ability to hold my current job. Maybe I should go into retail or something.
What the future holds:
Friday, July 20: I have a lunch meeting that I cannot cancel or reschedule with a former boss. I need to get more quotes from movers and storage people. I need to finish that damn project before Shabbat tomorrow.
Sunday, July 29: I have to
Thursday, August 2: I must be out of my current apartment. Phase III of project is due for work.
Thursday, August 2 - Tuesday, August 14: I'll be staying in my brother's studio and with three other friends who have a spare bedroom, over these 13 days. I had an option to sublet a place for two weeks for $700, but since I am already going to be paying professional movers twice (once to move my stuff into storage; one to move it out of storage), I decided to accept the generosity of brother and friends and not pay $50/night to stay in someone's empty apartment or un-rented bedroom. I could hire someone to clean bathroom and kitchen for me 14 times with that money! (Just kidding. I will be using that money to pay for professional movers to move my belongings twice in two weeks. Anyone have recommendations? I'm considering using Flatrate Moving, unless I can find someone else who thinks they can do both moves + storage for less than $1290 (+ tip) without breaking or losing anything.)
Wednesday, August 15: I will move into my new apartment.
Wednesday, August 22-Monday, September 17: My parents will be in town, staying with me part of the time and in a hotel part of the time.
I think that's about it.
I haven't posted since June 29 because I very much wanted the first thing I posted after my grandmother's passing to be the hesped [eulogy] I delivered at her funeral, and reminiscences about her life and legacy. Unfortunately, due to life continuing on its merry way despite my family's loss, I don't think that I will be able to do justice to my grandmother's memory for some time. When I do, I know that you will agree with me that the world has lost a very special person.
I hope you are all having peaceful, relaxing summers!
I'm sorry for your loss, and for the chaos to which it has contributed. Hopefullyu things even out a bit soon.
As for tisha b'av, well, mourning is mourning. We wish each mourner a place among the group to be comforted making me think that micro- or macro-, we Yidden don't need to be so precise in our distinctions. It was the 9th of Av. You mourned. That was more or less the point.
I am feeling a lot less overwhelmed now than I was when I wrote this post, since a few generous friends came to help me back on Sunday, and working on these work projects during all of my "spare" time has helped me keep my head above water at work...mostly. Ack. As long as I don't think about it all too much, and just do do do, I don't get too overwhelmed!
And I agree with you that mourning is mourning. In fact, I think that national mourning means so much more to us when we connect it, emotionally, to personal experiences of loss and mourning. The kinot we read (except for this year, when I just couldn't) show how this played out throughout Jewish history, connecting ancient losses (hurban habayit) to contemporary losses (everything from the Crusades and onward).
Hang on in there.