Thursday, June 30, 2005

Days 5-8: Ups and Downs

Our trip to the East Coast continued... the heatwave necessitated that we eat our way through restaurants in Cambridge, which was a treat. As was spending time with some dear friends that we made during a mutually difficult period in our lives (we were both uprooted from our happy grad school existence to move with our spouses when they pursued another degree.) Our friends called it the "Vietnam War of our relationship," and my husband and I nodded in agreement. "Good times," we said, mostly sarcastically. Despite our sarcasm, though, we're glad to have survived those years with our marriage intact and to have made good friends in the process. Truly a silver lining.

Next in the restaurant and visiting parade was family and friends in New Haven and New York... good Indian food in Little India, Venerios for pastries, Chinese food for dinner, and then Modern Pizza in New Haven for lunch the following day. Can you tell I measure time during "vacation" by what I'm having for the next meal? Anyway, here in my Large Midwestern City, I'd just about convinced myself that the pizza here was good, until I ate New Haven pizza again. As much as I disliked New Haven, I loved that pizza. I lost all patience for the most famous pizza places (the kind that Bill Clinton revisits when he comes to town) since their service is marginal if you're not Italian, a 50 year resident of New Haven, or, well, Bill Clinton. So Modern Pizza became my true love. Half sausage, half fried eggplant.

The downside of the weekend was the news that my grandmother died. She was in her 90s and had been living with dementia for a number of years. So I had already grieved the loss of the grandmother I knew, plus her death was not unexpected. But it was sad news nonetheless. She was an incredibly organized and practical woman, so her end-of-life instructions were spelled out to the letter -- no feeding tube, no deathbed vigils, etc. I hope such clear instructions made things easier for my mother and her two siblings. My grandmother also decided to donate her body to the medical school, thus removing the need for an immediate funeral. So all family members will gather next weekend on the surface of the sun (Oklahoma City) for a reunion and a memorial service.

I'd like to add that my grandmother was a very inspiring woman. She had a master's degree in Home Economics and worked outside the home for most of her life, spending the last part of her career teaching high school. After her retirement I remember that she took in special needs foster children. As a child, I didn't think anything was strange about visiting her and having an extra baby around -- even if he lacked an esophagus and had to be fed through a tube in his stomach. I like to think that my grandmother's life taught me that getting an education and having a career were important. Some of my most prized possessions are the "old fashioned" home economics books she owned, including those my grandfather gave to her during her studies. I wish I'd asked her tons more questions while she was alive, but I'm sure that's a common regret. May she Rest in Peace.