Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Birth and Death - the Links that Bind

This past Sunday was my grandmother's unveiling. An unveiling is a traditional Jewish ceremony that is done within a year of death, during which a short service is conducted graveside and the stone is "unveiled" for the first time for all to see.

My grandmother lived to be 91. It is a miracle that she made it to my wedding. After that, all she wanted was to see me have a baby. In her last few years, I would go visit with her in the nursing home and, after recognizing me, she would fall back into the lack of lucidity state we'd become accustomed to. But, out of nowhere, and, I must add, loud and clear as can be, she would suddenly yell "I vant you should have a baby!" (imagine a polish Jewish accent, if you can), before going back to that far-away place again.

She passed away suddenly (albeit not unexpectedly) 3.5 weeks after my miscarriage last fall. We had not told her that I was pregnant as I was worried about it being so early. Subsequently, she didn't know that I'd miscarried. Or, did she?

After getting the call that she had passed, I was driving to my parents house and was pretty shaken. I was still dealing with the sadness of my miscarriage and D&C, and wondered why this had to happen now. Suddenly, I was overcome by a wave of peace. I realized that my grandmother wanted me to have a baby in this world so much and decided that, if she couldn't have that baby here, she was going to go where the baby was. I know that it sounds crazy, I really do. But, the thought that she was in heaven protecting the baby that I couldn't protect gave me such solace and helped me get through the next few weeks. It still helps.

So, Sunday was her unveiling. There we all were, on the cemetery, listening to the Rabbi's words and reading along with him when asked. And, I thought about this again, and it again brought peace to me. Until we read a prayer that referred to the adding to the chains of the generation started by my grandmother. And, I realized that, in the almost year since she passed away, I'm still no closer than I was then to add a link to the chain. So many people in my life have had babies in this time (a post for another day....) and I feel like I'm moving backwards, rather than making progress.

There really are no words to describe how I feel as I come to grips with the horror that I may never add a link to that chain that somehow persevered and survived the Holocaust and emigration to America. The chain may end with me....


Linda said...

This post made me so sad Lisa. What can I say but continued prayers to you.

Ms Heathen said...

This is such a moving post, Lisa.

You are so right - what makes infertility doubly difficult to bear is the thought that our family history may end with us.

I hope that one day you will have a child to whom you can pass on your and your grandmother's legacy of survival.

Beautiful Mess said...

What a beautiful post! If it makes you feel at peace, go with it! Nobody can take that away from you. It's a precious gift. Enjoy your memories of your beautiful grandmother. She's with you and helping you along your journey. Have a GREAT day!

Emily said...

Your grandmother must have been an amazing and beautiful woman. I know she is watching over you today and gives you strength during this incredibly difficult journey.

May your chain go on for many generations...

Thinking of you!

Sandra said...

LIsa i feel so sad for this to be happening to you still. I'm so sorry. Always thinking of you. Hugs!

theresa said...

I read your posts on the nest and your blog and my heart goes out to you. I never know the right thing to say - but I really wish you the best and a ton of luck with this.