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  • Torah Reading: Naso
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Too Late to Send

Too Late to Send

A letter to my grandmother.


Dearest Bubby,

It has been almost a month since you passed away. I re-play the day of your surgery in my mind all the time. You were expected to recover, your heart as good as new. But that was not meant to be, Bubby. We thought we had more time with you. We thought that there would be plenty of opportunities for all the visits, all the trips, all the hugs and all the kisses that we meant to bestow on you in the future. We're sorry, Bubby.

  • I think about you every day. I wish I had thought about you more earlier.

  • I bought you a beautiful birthday card for your 75th birthday next month. Now I cannot send it to you. It is sitting in my drawer. I wish that I had not waited for an occasion to send a special card to you.

  • I wish I had taken more time to hear about your experiences in the Concentration Camps. I know that you didn't like to talk about it. Yet despite this, you agreed to be interviewed by the Shoah Foundation so that we would have your testimony preserved forever. You were so courageous, Bubby. I don't think I realized what it took out of you.

  • I wish that we had completed the memory book that I bought you. You were so pleased to receive it. Thank God, we recorded your family tree. We recorded the name of the school you attended and the friends you played with before the Nazis took you away. We recorded your courtship with Zaidy. But we never got around to recording much of the details of your life afterward. I thought I had more time. Now I will never know.

  • I didn't visit you enough after I got married. I know that you understood that I was busy with my new responsibilities, and then I was busy with my baby. I should have made more time for you. You were always there for me, Bubby. I should have been there for you, too.

  • When I did visit you and the baby was fussy, I left earlier than I wanted to. I should have stayed longer at my visits with you. You were always so happy to see me. I'm sorry, Bubby.

  • I wish that I had offered to go shopping for you and help you out more. When I offered and you declined because you didn't want to bother me, I wish that I had insisted more.

  • Toward the end, you used to talk a lot about your aches and pains. I thought it wasn't good for you to focus on this so much, so sometimes I would change the subject. I should have had more patience, more understanding. I didn't realize how sick you were, Bubby.

  • I wish that I had thanked you for so many things, Bubby. For cooking all those wonderful meals when I stayed over by you, and for treating me like a queen. For taking such an interest in every aspect of my life, and in my friends' lives. For telling me in your blunt and honest way, when I was doing something wrong. And above all, for making me feel so loved and special, even when I didn't do anything that great.

  • The night before your surgery, when I said good-bye, I wish that I had hugged you tighter. I wish that I had kissed you more. I wish that I had told you that you were the most wonderful grandmother, that I was so lucky to have the privilege of being your granddaughter. I wish that I had said good-bye like it was the last time I was ever going to see you. I didn't know, Bubby. I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

I can't change what happened. I can't take it back, Bubby. But I am trying to do what I can. Jewish guilt has gotten itself quite a reputation, but we both know that it is not the Jewish way. The Jewish way is to feel regret over our actions, and then do something constructive about it. That's what I am trying to do by writing this, Bubby. Maybe we can prevent some other people from feeling what I am feeling over you.

I will never forget you, Bubby. I will always tell my children about you. I will tell them about your special qualities, about how selfless and giving you were. I will tell them about your unshakeable faith, despite all your hardships and suffering. I will try to emulate your ways, Bubby, so that you can live on through your children and grandchildren, forever.

With love, forever and always,
Your granddaughter.

Dedicated to the memory of my beloved grandmother.

March 3, 2007

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Visitor Comments: 21

(21) Kathy Stein, March 17, 2007 4:24 PM

Definitely makes you think about the time you allot for those who love you.

Most of us can relate to this article. There is always someone we feel guilty about not giving the proper time and respect until it is too late to remedy our actions. Then the regret is overwhelming.

(20) Anonymous, March 15, 2007 5:41 AM

It is never too late. I am sure that your grandmother received your letter special delivery from Hashem.

(19) Anonymous, March 14, 2007 5:49 AM

its nice and lovely how i wish my grandmother was alive for me to read this to her hearing.

(18) Mindy, March 8, 2007 10:31 PM

So true and regretable

I have an elederly great grandparent, whom I visit abproximately every three weeks. Truthfully, I don't feel so guilty over this because she w a real witch, and made the family and my grandmother miserable until she told my grandfather that it was either her or his mother. He chose his mother, and they divorced. I never really had much of a relationship with her to begin with, so I feel bad when I see an old lady who still retains a trim body and a sharp tongue. We do, however, have an upstair neighobor who is in her advanced 70s that we visit once a week at the end of Shabbos. Every time I leave her I feel as though this may be the last time, and I tll myself that I should vivist more often. We all feel that guilty feeling that we don't do enough for our elderly- and we don't. I wish we could push ourselves to spend more time with them. Thank you for your inspiring letter!

(17) Anonymous, March 8, 2007 3:55 PM

Similar Situation...

Unfortunately, there are people who have lost relatives of the "younger" generation, who didn't get a chance to say good-bye.

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