“Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”
My mom got a call that her dad -my grandpa- wouldn’t wake up. The next thing I knew we were packing and in a car to the airport headed to Florida. It took us two flights and was midnight by the time we got there. That night my mom and grandpa’s caregiver sat with him as he went in and out of sleep.
The next day I woke to voices outside my room. My aunt and two cousins that I hadn’t seen in over half my life were there. I braced myself, not knowing how I was going to be received, and if they knew why we had stopped talking years ago. I was greeted with open arms.
I’ve always been jealous of people who are close to their cousins, and extended family while I hadn’t seen some of mine since I was nine. It’s been my immediate family for most of my life.
That afternoon my cousins, aunt and I went on a walk. My aunt had picked flowers to bring back to grandpa. When we got back I had sat down while most of them filed into his room. I remember thinking that I wasn’t needed since so many of them were in there when a cousin came to get me. I walked in to see everyone hugging and crying around his lifeless body. “You got your wish, Barry” his caregiver sobbed. He passed with his daughters, and most of his nieces and nephews together.
His wish was to be buried in NJ. Later that week my mom and I sat at home as it poured. My brother and his boyfriend were flying home for the funeral. I remember feeling like our soldiers were coming home as flights were delayed and they circled above our heads. People came from all over attend the funeral. It wasn’t until my brother got up to speak with mascara stained tears streaming down his face that the floodgates opened. We sat, our arms around each other and I felt hands of other family members from the row behind us. I was passed through loving arms as I cried, at times unsure who was holding me.
In the graveyard lyrics were handed out and we sang “We Shall Overcome”. Glitter, rose petals and crystals were shattered among the dirt on the coffin. As I got into a car I saw my dad crying and ran to hold him. We sobbed in each other’s arms.
A hole has been torn in the fabric and pulled us together to celebrate the life of Barry S. Cohen. Since then I’ve been spending time with family, which is why I’ve fallen behind on the Writing 101 assignments and haven’t been blogging.
Here’s to you gramps for bringing us all together. April 27th, 1927 – June 9, 2014. 87 years old. May you rest in peace.