Sarah Silverstein (Wald)
|Managed by:||Adam Robert Brown|
About Sarah Silverstein
Location: kim's laptop - 1206-b Music: cars on 199 a eulogy and a couple of first drafts of poems... being composed into live journal; my computer isn't working. no word docs.
my grandmother died yesterday evening. we've known that her death was imminent for about two and a half or three weeks. she was 94 years old. she would have turned 95 a month from today. she has been in a continually diminishing state for the last five or six years as a result of dementia. aside from the usual suspects (i.e. high blood pressure, incontinence, and a couple of other almost unavoidable ailments), she had been in relatively stable, if not good, health during that period of debilitation. it was hard to watch. not a year went by (figuratively, not literally; there were actually a couple of years of improvement) that wasn't marked by her either her loss of the ability to do accomplish some task or another or just the loss of some portion of conversational repertoire. she did not enjoy life. she clung to it tenaciously, but, in doing so, i'm not sure what she was doing. this is not to say that i'm not mournful at her death (or rather at the news of her imminent death - i have mourned - a livejournal entry of a few weeks past will tell you just how hard hit i was at first), but simply that there is an element of relief to it, especially for my parents. i can't stress how well they've conducted themselves through these years, how caring and considerate, yet realistic, they've been.
sara wald was born without a middle name in new york city on november 4, 1911. she was the eldest child of Samuel Wald, a roofer and sheet metal worker, and Rebecca Avadic, both recently emigrated from romania. they were both, as you could well assume, jewish. they did not speak english at that point. they probably knew romanian, to some extent or another, but they did not pass that fiendish language on to their daughter. she spoke only yiddish until she started school in worcester, massachusetts, where they had moved when she was still a baby. her childhood was extremely rough. she was dropped down a flight of stairs as a baby. she suffered from tuberculosis of the spine. as a young teen, she was sent hurtling through a car windshield in an automobile accident. she, a very short woman as an adult, would often cite this series of traumatic occurrences as the collective cause of her diminutive stature. she always said that she would have grown to be 5'3" if not for her misfortunes. she had six younger siblings. her mother was diabetic, who ended up going blind. she was, in some respects, a second mother to several of those siblings, all but one of whom she has outlived. they were not an easy bunch. drinking and gambling problems, as well as a tendency towards petty bickering in the more mundane cases, were not uncommon. as a seventeen year-old, to give this eulogy some sense of disorder - her younger siblings were not that precocious, her family moved from worcester to peekskill, new york. the year was 1929; you can guess why they moved. my great-grandfather ended up being quite successful in the new town, and my grandmother lived there until her retirement in 1974. she, who had gone to a high school in worcester specifically intended for those planning to go on to college, would not being able to do so. she spent the rest of her working life primarily doing clerical work, mostly at peekskill hospital. she did it enjoy it, oddly enough. she was always an extrovert, and the work suited that element of her personality. she married my grandfather, harry silverstein (harry is short for nothing; harry was his name.), in 1948. he was a neurotic railroad clerk, who, if intelligence had anything to do with it, should have been something along the lines of a nobel laureate. he was a good man with integrity to spare, but, alas, he was not a happy man and he was not a self-sufficient man. he was a burden that my grandmother had to bear. her ability to live with and emotionally support him for the 47 years that they lived together was a truly remarkable thing in the end. i know few other people who could have done it. my father was born on june 7, 1949. he was their only child; she had had one prior miscarriage. they doted on him, spoiled him miserably. such is life when one (or two) waits that long to have someone to nurture. he turned out alright, i think. he's still a work in progress. his name is robert mattes silverstein. someone told them that mattes meant max in hebrew. harry's at that point late father (jewish people cannot name children after living people) was named max. another rabbi later told them that the name was completely meaningless. anyhow, she worked and worked until she was 62 and harry was 65, and then they moved down to delray beach, florida, and lived a rather mundane retired life. there really was nothing particularly remarkable about the remainder of her life, other than her sheer perseverance in the face of a continually emotionally difficult circumstance. my grandfather died of multiple heart attack almost exactly eleven years ago. my grandmother moved to an assisted living place in delray about three or four years after his death. she then moved up to another assisted living place in annandale, virginia, in order to be closer to my parents in early 2005. kidney failure as the result of an operation on a broken hip.
poems (these are unrelated except through melancholy):
the stench of your disinterest pervades the inner recess of my one to two o'clock hour. i wish to know the cause but understand that there need not be one. nothing so much as physical proximity could bring me back out of this mire of introspective gloom; that warmth, that all-consuming humanity, i need it. it locates me - in a field, on a ridge, over my nerves, under you.
the wind between two buildings neither of which ought to exist gives tell of the drive to consume and to produce, to produce consumables. everyday we dress ourselves to fool each other, and it works - 60% of the time. we all get wise occasionally. that's when i want to eat roots and nuts and berries and hallucinate off of physical exhaustion alone and be alone because i can forgive myself for lying to myself.
what malice makes us turn canary what callous disregard of the feelings of canaries makes us turn the word "canary" into an epithet what malice? that some go out of their way seems inconceivable but without doubt that some go out of their way without cheap reward seems insane but i am more insane than them because what is insanity but something that susan sontag could deconstruct being as such i surely make less sense than they do it is odd to commit to actions out of nothing more than altruism but what other reason is there for action lust but i've tried to try lust and it hasn't worked but it might work and i really fucking want it to work but that's a false answer because lust and altruism are the same