Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Some of you know that my grandpa has been very ill for much of the past year, and this past Sunday, after suffering what the obit called "complications from a fall," he died swiftly and peacefully. As if it needs saying, we were lucky to have him around for 98 remarkably healthy years (I wasn't there for all 98 of them but, y'know, the world) and as my friend David put it, "laughing all the way."

People are so kind. Friends have been calling and emailing and it's so appreciated. This morning the doorbell rang -- and Dan had sent a care package from Russ and Daughters!!! I didn't know whether to cry or immediately eat a bagel and lox. (I did both.)

My dad has done all the stuff like dealing with Riverside and identifying the body, closing out accounts and all the real business of dying. I have very little to do myself, and even those few things are proving challenging. 1: I am preparing my "remarks" which is tricky for all the obvious reasons. But on a more mundane level, I can't find anything to wear! I don't know what I expected -- that I could just waltz down Broadway and find some classic LBD. It seems the high street doesn't truck in these. I tried J.Crew, Banana Republic, Gap, Zara, H&M, Bloomingdales, Club Monaco, even Top Shop -- and after wandering in and out of stores like a zombie for 2 hours, listlessly trying on a series of embellished tops and things that didn't fit and that couldn't be ordered or altered in time, I called it a day. I hate having to think about such nonsense, but there you have it. As one person wrote me yesterday, "It's like Tolstoy said - somehow daily life goes on, even in impossible circumstances." The death of someone who's lived a long, happy life, at 98, is never a tragedy -- more a time for reflection and celebration. Not least because Grandpa Joe was, quite literally, the happiest person any of us has ever known.

Now, if only I could somehow communicate that in a few paragraphs...

8 comments:

Shelly said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Sadie! I was very close to both my grandfathers and I remember how hard it is to say goodbye to wonderful people.
I also empathize with your funeral attire dilemma. I remember that when one of my grandmother's was dying, I came into town to see her, only to be sent off to find a good suit for my brother to wear to the funeral.
Have you tried White House Black Market- that's where I got my last LBD.

Sadie Stein Blog said...

@Shelly -- I DID look there, and they didn't have any plain ones. Will fake something with a cocktail dress and a jacket, I guess...

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear that. I lost my 103 year old grandmother last year and can attest that the loss of a loved one's company is the tragedy. It's hard to be too sad knowing what a full life they lived.

Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry for your loss but what a wonderful thing to have know such a happy, fulfilled person! I was not close to my grandparents so I admire of those that are.

Regarding funeral clothes, sometimes I think it's best to wear something that you already own. When you buy something especially for a sad occasion, that experience kind of colors how you see the clothes afterwards and you're less likely to wear them again. Wear something that already has good memories attached to it. Of course, this could just be my own neuroses speaking!

-Bess

Sadie Stein Blog said...

@Bess: good advice -- and advice I will incorporate into something I'm writing right now on the topic! I ended up doing just that -- a little frock that, with a slip and a jacket, was okay. It's today -- the second day of shivah -- that really has me stumped!

Snobber said...

Dear Sadie,

I'm sorry to hear about your Grandpa. Take care and know that 98 is a very long life!

I also wanted to say just briefly how much I love your blog.

All best,
Jessica Ferri

Sadie Stein Blog said...

@snobber That means so much! Thank you.

Bonnie said...

This is late, I know, but I am obsessed with funeral dressing. I don't go to many, knock on wood, but about 5 years ago in occurred to me that they will always come up, and they will always be bad. Nothing worse than scrambling for the correct thing at the last moment, especially for a dreadful occasion.

Since then it has been my dream to assemble two ready to go garment bags: a cold-weather funeral ensemble, and a warm-weather. I have not accomplished this yet, but often creep people out on shopping trips by squealing "oohhh what perfect funeral shoes!"

Recently, I was in San Francisco when I got the call that my great aunt had died. To make the funeral I'd have to go straight from the Newark airport when I returned. I'd been in CA for a wedding and only had things like a shimmery gold cocktail dress, so I went to Macy's on the way to make my plane and bought a sale-rack Calvin Klein gray working gal dress (business costume, some would say).

I cringed at the 100% polyester tag, but despite being shoved in my carry on, it was perfectly wrinkly free. It's now an official choice, and can be worn with jackets or cardigans, tights, etc. for weather changes. I was sad, but also strangely satisfied.