As it took about three weeks to get acquainted with the iPad and to post something to this blog, it has taken me about three weeks to stop marveling at the iPhone 4 and to put it to greater use. Or, even some use.
So, it might be fitting to make this first post a tribute to the grande dame of the family, my grandmother. I visited her a few Saturdays ago, and I presented her with this photo of her which I had just taken with the iPhone 4’s snazzy camera.
At first, this magnificent nonagenarian was skeptical that the image was that of her. “In manam?” (Is this me?) she inquired incredulously in Farsi. “Areh” (yeah) I replied repeatedly. Then, this remarkable woman who has valiantly and tenaciously survived the vicious battles that Farsi, French, Hebrew and English have waged for her neurons, turned to her Israeli neighbor and said, in perfect English, “I am very, very old!”
A long life is wonderful, but a slow demise is the ultimate spoiler for all: for the nonagenarian and all of her descendants. I can think of few sorrows greater then the slow process by which my grandmother is succumbing to time. The gradual transformation of this stubborn, invulnerable and irrepressible lioness and matriarch to a sedentary and gentle white-haired woman who struggles to hear, to stand up, to recognize her children and grandchildren and to remember her own life has caused more grief than any single event in my life.
It is a grief rooted in more than the mere realization that a most dearly beloved who has mothered and nurtured more than three generations will soon pass. The grief runs deeper to that fundamental realization that time is the ultimate ravager, merciless and infinite in its capability to destroy cities, nations, entire civilizations, planets and even galaxies. Given that perspective, the loss of one life is perhaps insignificant and trivial, but the human heart can never bear the burden of such a loss, and mine can’t bear the burden of seeing the single greatest pillar of strength in my entire life reduced to a tired soul awaiting death.
It is still a privilege to visit her and to love her, even though the lioness I remember was vanquished long ago. The only lesson to learn is to be appreciative of every moment and every privilege that time gives us.
I can only be cynical about the adage that time heals all wounds. When you’re dead, you don’t feel a thing.