On Tuesday afternoon my grandmother had a heart attack while she was trimming the bushes. Less than a day later, with my mother, father, sister and her rabbi by her side, she passed away. On Thursday morning my brother and I got on a plane bound for our home in Kansas.
While it’s been rough at times, I find a certain amount of joy in knowing that she went the way she wanted to go, doing yard work, and with very little struggle or discomfort. She knew it was her time and she was ready. We should all be so fortunate.
Before I left Los Angeles, I wrote a eulogy for her. It started off with a quote by Daisaku Ikeda which says, “You mustn’t allow yourselves to grow old before your time. Please live with youthful spirit. That is what Buddhism teaches us to do, and how life ought to be lived.” I went on to explain that while my grandmother was not necessarily conscious of it, she embodied the spirit of a Bodhisattva. She had such a young spirit, which was absolutely infectious. She was always willing to listen or discuss whatever was on your mind, she helped make the world a better place in so many ways.
Kansas is so beautiful this time of year. Leaves are starting to change and you can feel a change in the air. It’s something that I miss, living in Los Angeles. While I’d never want to move back here, I do love visiting a certain times of the year. It doesn’t feel like home the way it used to. I still feel like it’s the place in which I grew up, but that’s about the extent of it. I have amazing memories of this house (and my grandmother’s house as well), but that’s kind of all that remains, aside from the fact that my parents and sister still live here. When I get homesick, it’s for my home in Los Angeles.
It’s getting late here. I’ve got another day and some change left in Kansas. I don’t know if I’ll post anything else about it while I’m here, but I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what home is and how important family is, so there you have it. I’m going to get some sleep now.