David Berman and Sarah Katznelenborgan had an arranged marriage. Unbeknownst to Sarah, David was several decades her senior. Together they would be blessed with five children; Bill, Louie, Max, Faye (my grandmother), and Ide. When Ide was born, David was in his seventies. Longevity seems to run in the family as my Aunt Ide died last Saturday at the age of 102 1/2.
Ide was a true pioneer. As my cousin Sandy so eloquently has said, “Ide, back in the late 1930’s and throughout the 1940’s 50’s and 60’s was what women are today!” She worked full-time and was an unusually independent thinker.
For a woman who never was a mom, she sure had a lot of children. We are her nieces and nephews and we are four generations deep. Auntie Ide sipped wine and danced with us at family simchas (celebrations). She actually could out-dress and out-dance us all! She was famous for her chopped liver and her rum cake. She used real rum..and a lot of it!
Ide was the last remaining physical link we had to Bill, Louie, Max, & Faye. She was our family jewel and we all had our own special connection with her. During her last weeks, we sat by her side & held her hand as she struggled to breathe. She was always a fighter and death now was her adversary.
A week before she died, I remember walking into her condo and sensing the presence of a full crowd of relatives-in-spirit. I had very recently been in conversation with my dad, who died years before, so I recognized his energy immediately. My beautiful Grandma Faye, and her brothers were also amongst the throng of deceased loved ones trying to coax Ide over to the other side. I sensed they were telling her about the people, her people joyously gathering, waiting for her to emerge into the light.
Later that night, though she hadn’t uttered a word all day, she became alert and said she needed to go shopping for a dress! Hours later she whispered..”How can they eat spaghetti in the dark?” I looked up in the direction she was pointing and saw a fuzzy scene of large oval-shaped tables covered in a lovely black tablecloth. Sitting elegantly in the center of each was a gorgeous tall-silver-candelabra with pretty, unlit candles. Her party was right up her alley, fancy!
The term labor of love truly took on new meaning in the weeks preceding my aunt’s death. As a medium, I’m trained in differentiating energy. Not only am I able to sense when someone from the other side visits, I can frequently distinguish who it is. Since I knew, or rather know so many of Ide’s relatives in-spirit I began to grasp, from a more personal perspective, how much work it can take to help a dying person relax into death.
We, her nieces, nephews and caregivers were doing our part on this end while those on the other side were doing theirs.
I often sat close to my aunt and whispered things in her ear about ‘heaven’ and promised she would never be alone, she was not imagining things..Her parents were in the room, along with my father, her brothers and sisters and more. She gestured with her hands, pointed in the air and nodded.
Every hour she visibly slipped further and further away from us. I felt like she was somehow visiting the other side in snippets and then falling back into her frail, thin body where she could hear us but no longer respond.
Dying is a process as is birth. For some it goes quickly and for others it goes on and on. Our job on this end is to love our friend or relative, and respect their process.
As Ide moved deeper into the tunnel, memories of her standing in her bright yellow kitchen, watching me dance to the music of one of my records playing on her ancient stereo system slowly swooshed by.
My 15th year was horrendous. While most kids that age struggled to find the perfect hair-style, and themselves, I was searching for a place to live. My parents had just split up and my dad had rented an apartment here in town but traveled all week for work. He agreed to take me in when my mother divorced me too. Ide and her husband Sam lived down the hall from my dad so I spent a lot of time with them. Lost in grief, I had forgotten who I was and certainly who I would be. But my aunt had hope for me and she beamed it into me in every way she knew how.
It was that lost girl who sat weeping by my Aunt’s bed. The combination of so much time spent in her condo and the metaphysical heat of the moment brought me back. Though all of me is grieving the loss of Ide, it is the 15-year-old me who weeps. She was more than an aunt to me. She played mother when my own stepped out.
I trusted my gut even back then and it lead me here. Here.. to my warm and welcoming home with my sweet husband and three beautiful children.. and of course, my little white dog.
Here where we celebrate the life of one stunning, strong, funny, amazing woman who took her last breath and flew into the dazzling light.
Always remember…When Things Don’t Add Up, Intuition Helps You Do the Math! My Happy Medium books, The Happy Medium: Awakening to Your Natural Intuition & The Happy Medium: Speaking the Language of Intuition are brimming with humorous & highly effective insight building techniques! Check them out!