Unfortunately when we came back from Maine, we found out that my grandfather (aka Popi) wasn’t doing well. He was in a hospice and the doctors were saying he didn’t have much time left. He passed on Sunday Morning.
Sunday was crazy as we tried to figure out what was going on, who was going where when. My mom managed to get plane tickets for the family to go down Monday to Saturday. Val was left at home to guard the apartment.
On Monday, Emily’s boyfriend John (aka “Popo the hotdog vendor”) drove us to the airport. On the way at around 7ish AM we drove through Watertown and passed by my co-worker Adam waiting for a bus. I don’t think he noticed us. It was kind of weird, but funny. I waved.
We barely made the flight, but we did make it. Jet Blue was nice. They offer Dunkin’ Donuts coffee which is neat. I just went with a morning soda and cookies, but unlike some airlines, they let me have the whole can. They have TVs on each chair which is nice, although I thought it was funny that they advertised Google on them.
The ride was pretty smooth, although ad the end we had to go through a rain/storm cloud where there was some thunder/lightning.
Once landed we got a rental car and had to take care of some paperwork with the funeral home and cemetery. We’re staying at a nearby hotel because there’s 5 of us and we’re loud and have a lot of stuff. The hotel seemed nice although parts of it were being renovated. Also, it was creepy that our neighbor must have been the devil…
Tuesday was the day of the funeral service. I started the day with the hotel’s complimentary continental breakfast. A continental breakfast always sounds much more impressive than it is. Ooh, it’s so continental. The hotel’s continental breakfast consisted of some small danish (what’s the plural of danish?) and mini muffins. There was orange juice (thank goodness), some apples and coffee (although you had to guess which was regular and which was decaf).
I got ready first. Once I was ready I helped my mom with the eulogy she wrote the night before. I had her type it up on my laptop so that I could print it out for her. I saved it to my iPod and went to the hotel’s “business room.” For $5 for the first 10 minutes I could use their computer (printing is extra). Taking my time, I only needed 3 minutes and it charged $1 to print the 2 pages.
Once we were prepared, we went straight to the funeral home for the service.
Actually we got there quite early (which is very unlike us), but my sister wanted to go back to the hotel…she left her apple in the hotel room and was afraid she might get famished. My dad parked right up front, but then I took my siblings back to the hotel. I should have watched where my dad parked. I didn’t realized as I was backing up that there was a row of orange cones right behind the car. Yeah, that was embarrassing.
When my siblings and I got back to the funeral home, it was still a little early. There was time to mingle and see relatives and friends. I haven’t seen some family members in quite some time. Some I’ve never met. It was nice to see my aunt, uncle and cousins. My cousin Jessica looks the same as I remember, except now she has a little pregnant belly. My cousin Monica on the other hand is no longer a 12 year old girl (she’s in college now). Monica and I decided that Jessica and Brian’s beanie babie Bean will now be called Cookie Puss after the Carvel cake.
The service was short, but nice. Popi decided for a traditional (simple wooden) casket, which I thought was nice. My mom was able to read the speech she wrote, which was very nice.
After her, my uncle Victor gave a few words. His speech was much more light-hearted (not on the verge of tears like my mom). It was very Victor-ish — my favorite was when he used the word dig as in now dig this daddy-o.
After that, the Rabbi said a few more words and we proceeded to the procession to the cemetery. The procession was pretty smooth going with two motorcycle police officers clearing a path for us.
At the cemetery we gathered near the grave. It was incredibly hot and humid. There was a nice small tent to hide from the sun. After making sure the older people were able to find a seat, I sat down next to my sister. I didn’t realize until my bottom hit the chair that the fabric was connected (like a bench) to the other chairs in my row. The older woman next to me bounced into the air a bit and gave a little gasp.
There was a brief service with the the mourner’s kaddish, then they lowered him into the ground. The rabbi had a packet or Israeli dirt then he poured into the grave and then we all did the typical Jewish tradition for a burial of shoveling (or throwing) dirt down.
After the cemetery, we went to Nana’s, which is pretty much where we spent the next few days. There was a good turnout of people on the first day at Nana’s filling her condo with family and friends. In the days after there was significantly less people, but still people showed up every day.
On Friday night we lit the Shabbat candles, had some sliced challah and some pretty yucky sparkling grape juice.
Late Friday night, I found out there was a nearby Barnes and Noble, which I went to and got a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7), which I started reading immediately and finished on Sunday.
Anyways, on Saturday it was mostly packing up and getting ready to head home. On the way to the airport we saw an ice cream van, that I think looked creepy.
Yes, the van said, “STOP..? WATCH (for) CHILDREN!”
We got to the airport on time, but the flight was delayed because of a lightning storm in Fort Lauderdale. The airport employee needs to learn to address people better. You could see him searching for the right words as he was making the announcement about the delay, but instead said, “There’s nothing we can do. We just have to wait as we’re BEING HELD HOSTAGE…by the lightning storm.” You could hear the collective gasp from the people waiting for their planes.
Luckily the flight back was smooth, albeit a bit later than anticipated.
We’ll all miss Popi…Rest in peace Popi: 1919 – 2007