My Baba (Grandmother in Russian) recently passed away. She had been living independently for many years. Even after her heart surgery. She wouldn’t have had it any other way. She was a strong willed lady that never wanted to burden her family and wanted to stand on her own two feet. Up to the last couple days the saddest part was to see an old lady who was mentally alert have a body that had began to shut down.
But the family knew that even though Baba was the strongest woman we knew, that there would be a time when we would need to take care of her. We knew this day would come and the family prepared as best we could. Many decisions had to be made and Baba was actively involved in making sure the process of picking up the pieces after her time had come would be as painless as possible. The responsibilities had been divided already with my sister, mom and myself and all we needed to do was to execute on them.
As it was, Baba was taken to the hospital on Saturday because her body was failing. Though she didn’t like the fact that “people were putting up a fuss” as she put it, by taking time off work and making trips to see her. She knew the time was close and did want to say good-bye to everyone that could make it.
I spent a day at the hospital sitting by her side. She could not move, but she could talk. We had conversations about anything that we could think of. Her main concerns were that the family not fight over anything and wanted to make sure her wishes were carried out. She talked about all of the people she cared about and she was sad that this was the end. Though she was ready to go if this was her time, she was stil worried about her family and friends. All we wanted was to make sure that there was always someone at the hospital to keep her company.
In the end she passed in peace, with family by her side. As painful as it was for my mom, sister and Baba’s close friend Karen to experience, Baba did not die alone. Thank you for being there!
Now the family is following up on Baba’s wishes and taking care of the responsibilities given. Funerals, notification to the rest of the family and friends, and all of the other activities that will need to be sorted out and closed.
So this post is in memory of a great woman that helped raise me as a child and help mold me as a man. I will always have you close and I am comforted that you are in a better place with our family in Heaven.
The childhood memories I have of Christmas in Martinez, the summers on the farm learning multiplication tables and digging up arrow heads will all be filled with you. When I was young and mom was working to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table you would take care of me. I know I fruserated you as I grew up with some of the decisions I was making, but you always loved and supported me. When you had heart surgery I thought that was it. You talked about your late husband and son who had passed and were ready to see them again. Seeing you in the hospital recovering I realized that every moment I could spend with you was a gift. When I was called to go to war, you cried and were strong for me. I left not knowing if that would be the last I saw of you. Even though you tried to hide it, I heard the tears in your voice when I made my first call to you while in Iraq, when you said a prayer and told me you loved me and to come home safe. You barely had the energy to walk to the phone, but you always answered when i called. I called you as often as I could because you wanted to be sure that I was alright and I wanted the same. Wanting to see you again was a force that gave me purpose in my time of chaos. To see your face when I came home and give your aging body a hug knowing that it was a blessing to capture every moment I could with you. You are the the best Baba anyone could want, even ‘adopting’ grandchildren in the process. You are loved by many because you touched many lives. You saw your children and grandchildren grow up and start families of there own. Held your great-grandchild and saw his smile. Through it all you were brave. Thank you for always being there for us and leaving such lasting happy memories.