The world was robbed.
Yesterday, my great-grandmother, my Bubbie Hammer, passed away at 95.
Here are my thoughts that I wrote down to share at the funeral this morning, which I managed to somewhat do before my eyes could no longer read off the page (thank you overactive tear ducts).
If you sat down with me and asked me to list out the most influential people in my life, you would know that the top five would be my great-grandmother, my grandmothers, and my parents. I’m heartbroken to lose my Bubbie Hammer, my great-grandmother, who has been my biggest supporter and influence. Truly, she was the only person who fully understood my soul, my sense of humor, and my emotions. She taught me how to use a record player (Winnie the Pooh, Mary Poppins, and Laurel/Hardy were our favorites to listen to), dressed up with me and ATARA after crazy Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, taught me to needlepoint, watched Leave it to Beaver with me, and a whole slew of wonderful activities that have informed every bit of who I am today. Really, I’m so grateful that I was blessed by her friendship, love, and companionship. I am so thankful for every second. I love her most, and she loved me most times infinity.
This “I love you most” bit is not about a competition between me and my many cousins, but rather our way of saying goodbye to each other.
It is so clear to everyone that knew my Bubbie that family always came first. She was the matriarch of the family in a powerful, endearing way, always with a twinkle of mischief in her eye. Her flirtatious spirit, her love of life, and her hundreds of stories informed her every moment. There was never a question of who was holding down the room. For each of her great-grandchildren she harbored a different affinity and love. I’m sure we will all miss “bubbie sitting”, the hugs and kisses, and spending hours watching old TV shows with her. She held up her grandchildren and great-grandchildren with an incredible affection that I have yet to see rivaled in anyone else. I am fiercely proud that she made it to Ilan and Dalia’s B’nai Mitzvah, as she promised to do, and I am proud that myself, my siblings, and my cousins will all grow up with her ideals and memories instilled within us as we continue to spread love and joy as she so often did. I am proud that our Bubbie, who moved here in 1998 after Atara and I were born, was able to live to see all of us here bar and bat mitzvahed, and for her oldest two great-grandchildren to graduate high school.
While our lives will never be the same without her, I am not concerned about her spirit living on through each and every one of the people who’s lives she was a part of. I have always said that she was a force of nature, and I know that we will all soon see how our lives have been shaped by her love.
These words don’t even begin to describe the magic that was my Bubbie. Who could forget when she went on vacation to Jamaica and would always come back with beds lining her hair? Or the way she clung so dearly to my hand as we said our goodbyes? I won’t. I couldn’t.
I’m in Syracuse now. I don’t think I’ve really been here to visit in about 10 years…? I could be wrong, it may be shorter than that or longer. Who knows? It feels right, like this is where we’re meant to be right now, remembering Bubbie.
(I loved her most.)