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The Unveiling

imageRemembering. August 2013, Pennsylvania.

This August, right before school started, we celebrated Pop Pop’s life at his grave unveiling. It’s a Jewish custom to wait about a year to place and reveal the gravestone of a loved one. It’s a beautiful tradition, I’ve come to realize. It’s a chance to remember, to reflect, to grieve together once you’ve had time to grieve apart.

But I dreaded the unveiling a little, if I’m honest. I wanted to say something for Pop Pop, but I worried I wouldn’t be able to get it out. I didn’t speak at his funeral, and I regretted it. It all happened so fast. He died September 13, and we buried him the very next day. It was all I could do to write the obituary and get through the whirlwind. 

Maybe that’s part of what makes the unveiling so special, so needed. Time has passed. Life has moved on. But we return, we slow down and we remember.

A very dear grandmother passed away a few days ago. Not mine — mine are gone now — but close. It has me returning to all these feelings, and I want to finally share what I did say at Pop Pop’s unveiling. Yep, I managed to get all the words out. 

Pop Pop and I were “the criers.” We cried a lot together, and then we’d always laugh about it. So, if I cry through this, bear with me.

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Basically, Yes

  • Me: Basically, what happened was... "Basically" — ha, listen to me. I sound like Pop Pop.
  • Mom: You know you say that all the time, right?
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I somehow forgot to link to last month’s AARP post, about the gift my aunt gave me the last time I was home in Pennsylvania. It came as a complete surprise, both to her and to me. I hope you enjoy the story — and pass the kindness on.

Related: My middle school math teacher used to have us read from a book of Random Acts of Kindness to start each class. Yes, my math teacher. She was just that special, and I was just that lucky.

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Backyard dancers. July 2006, Pennsylvania.
Today is Bernie and Ruth’s 70th wedding anniversary. I have no doubt that a version of this is happening somewhere right now, with Dibi cutting the rug and Pop Pop looking on, smiling. See him there on the porch?
I could be sad, but I’m not. Let’s dance.

Backyard dancers. July 2006, Pennsylvania.

Today is Bernie and Ruth’s 70th wedding anniversary. I have no doubt that a version of this is happening somewhere right now, with Dibi cutting the rug and Pop Pop looking on, smiling. See him there on the porch?

I could be sad, but I’m not. Let’s dance.

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My latest post for AARP is a thank you / love letter to my friends. This fall, they arranged for a tree to be donated in Pop Pop and Dibi’s honor. What a beautiful surprise. What a beautiful spot to talk to them. What a beautiful way to remember. Love you, love you, all of you who made it happen.

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While the rest of New York waited. October 2012, Brooklyn.
The Sunday before Hurricane Sandy hit, we gathered in Prospect Park to dedicate a tree to Dibi and Pop Pop. I wrote about it for my December AARP post, which should go live sometime next week, so more on this soon. But let me just say: I was and continue to be so grateful for the friends who dreamed up the tree and made it happen. And yes, it survived the storm (thank goodness!), so there will be many more picnics and sits and talks there to come.

While the rest of New York waited. October 2012, Brooklyn.

The Sunday before Hurricane Sandy hit, we gathered in Prospect Park to dedicate a tree to Dibi and Pop Pop. I wrote about it for my December AARP post, which should go live sometime next week, so more on this soon. But let me just say: I was and continue to be so grateful for the friends who dreamed up the tree and made it happen. And yes, it survived the storm (thank goodness!), so there will be many more picnics and sits and talks there to come.