COLUMN TWENTY-NINE, JANUARY 1, 1998
(Copyright © 1998 Al Aronowitz)
GOODBYE, AUNT ROSE
I remember you Aunt Rose. The gravelly voiced and busty aunt of my childhood. You always had the warmest smile and I can close my eyes and see you with your salmon colored lipstick and your oversized glasses. I can smell your perfume; the old lady scent that didn't quite approach my grandma's. I can hear you tell me I looked like Marilyn when I was growing up, and asking if I should be so skinny. I remember you had light brown hair piled on top of your head. Teased... how high would it go? I wondered. And now I can remember it turning to grey early on. I remember you were married to the man who never smiled, and I wondered how you could always be so jolly. So Rosey. I remember you reminded me everytime I saw you, of the word I used for hamburgers when I was a toddler: Makamunitz. It was like you had turned it into my middle name.
I can hear your thick dialect; a dialect of second-generation Jewish in America. I can see your feet twisting and your arms rocking at Cousin Mitchell's wedding. And I can hear your tears as they poured down your cheeks at my mother's funeral. What good have I been to you Aunt Rose? What words can I offer you now, as your body rots with infection leaving your soul to cry as you drown in your own tears? Your own sorrows of giving birth to a handicapped child. Of marrying a man who you thought could make you happy. I am sorry you were disappointed. I am sorry that you were angry and bitter. I know there was joy in your soul when your grandchildren were born. I know that you were delighted when your little great-nephew Noah came to visit. I am sorry that I did not spend more time with you. I am sorry that I was not there to help you when you might have needed me.
Why is it that Jews don't ever say goodbye? Why do they wait for the funeral and never know that the soul of the person heard them? Why do Jews weep silently? Their tears of denial---holding them, clutching them like a wadded up tissue in the icy grey morning when a casket is lowered in the cold dirt. Why does the pillow bleed tears?
Why does the room not fill with joy at our opportunity to say goodbye? I love you Aunt Rose. I know that your life was rich and full, and that you got what you needed in your health and by your sickness. I am here for you now, though I am far away. I feel your soul struggle to decide whether to go or stay. I know the light calls you and so do your children beckon you to stay; your sisters and brother beckon you to stay; and your grandchildren beckon you to stay. The grief of your body and your absence will be too much to bear.
But we are strong. We will survive. And then you will be there to hold our hands when we cross, too. To guide us to the light when it's our turn. I bless you deep inside and release you from anything you need to feel about staying here. Don't stay for us. You have given us plenty. You have given us memories that are full and ripe and perfect. You have given us your spirit as well as your smile and your wisdom. You are free. I miss you already and I hope that your journey is calm and free and hopeful.
I hope that you join with God and feel the love of light there, and shoot those rays of God toward us in our daily struggle with life. Thank you Aunt Rose. ## NEXT: A "FOUND" MANUSCRIPT, CIRCA 1978: MICK AND THE PRESIDENT.
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMN TWENTY-NINE
CLICK HERE TO GET TO INDEX OF COLUMNS
Blacklisted Journalist can be contacted at P.O.Box 964, Elizabeth, NJ 07208-0964
The Blacklisted Journalist's E-Mail Address:
THE BLACKLISTED JOURNALIST IS A SERVICE MARK OF AL ARONOWITZ