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(Author on the left, with her grandmother and younger sister.)

“When there’s no one left in the living world who remembers you, you disappear… “ Coco

I visit my grandma’s grave rarely. Now I’ve admitted it. This is something a good Jewish granddaughter is not supposed to divulge. I thought I would visit a lot, marking her birthdays, the day of her death and other special anniversaries by sitting by her gravestone, wiping it down, placing new little stones on it, as is customary for Jews. Yet, I show up at the cemetery maybe once a year, never remembering quite how to get there, heavily relying on the GPS. When I do visit, I’m always a bit ashamed, though there’s no one there to scold me. I’m alone, with just a bit of a light breeze ruffling the grass around. I drop on the lawn next to grandma’s grave, eyes burrowing into her photograph on the headstone. I take in her name, her years of birth and death, a quote from a poem she wrote that my father selected so carefully to be engraved at her final stop. I sit. I close my eyes and open them again. Is she there? Is she here?

I visit grandma’s grave so rarely mostly because I don’t need to come. I feel no urge to go to some geographical location where her body found a final resting place 14 years ago. For me, grandma is not really there. Instead, she is with me all the time, hovering around my kitchen, drinking tea at my table, asking for more sugar. She’s helping me get dressed, poking around my closet, commenting on the fact that I’ve always looked better in blue. I see her, small and frail in her final years, marveling at my kids – the great-granddaughters she never knew – amazed at how precocious they are. I feel her presence constantly, powerfully infused into my life, as if she’s insisting to stick around, to watch out for her elder granddaughter. I like having her around.

I sense grandma when I talk, when I read, when I write, when I eat cottage cheese with jam, when I play Scrabble with my kids. More than anything else, she has instilled in me her........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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