Eulogy

Apr. 19th, 2017 10:09 pm
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Default)
Today was the funeral. It was beautiful and well-attended. I remain floored by the outpouring of love and support. Afterwards, we went to Veselka and I indulged in some challah french toast and a mimosa. And some gentle teasing with my brother Michael (you'll see why).

Here is the eulogy I gave today:

Greetings.

And for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Gina and Taras was my husband.

As I am not Ukrainian, and I am not Catholic, but Jewish, I thank this Church and the members of this community and ask that you forgive my lack of knowledge regarding your traditions. But as my mother-in-law Tekla is fond of frequently reminding me, Jesus and his disciples were Jewish and we are of the same God.

In the Jewish tradition we recite the mourner’s Kaddish when someone passes. Death is never mentioned in that prayer. Rather, the words are meant as a way to not turn away from God in anger or hate or hopelessness at the loss of a loved one, but rather to praise and be thankful for what we have been given. That while loss and sorrow exist, it is faith and goodness that prevail.

In that light, I wish to express my thanks for the extraordinary man that was Taras Hnatyshyn and what he brought to me in my life, in our life together, and to all of you.

Taras was so many things. An artist. An astronomer. An engineer. A gamer. A photographer. A computer nerd. A lover of hops and hockey, of music and offbeat comedy and many things in Science Fiction including Doctor Who and Star Trek.

Taras was a kind, funny, gentle and generous man with a quick and clever wit. He was, as his friend Peter recently put it, “one of the good ones.”

Taras and I were friends before we dated. We would trade quips via music lyrics and I would sit in awe at his encyclopedic knowledge of Doctor Who. He was a gentleman who frequently walked me home. He would flirt with me…a lot. Sometimes (by his own admission), unknowingly because he wasn’t ‘that guy.’ You know – the ones who just want one thing.

And so it was after a birthday dinner one year when things changed between us. I had received a birthday call from my brother Michael, who took the opportunity to playfully chide me “So when are you going to grow up and settle down, leave the city and move to the suburbs, buy house, have a couple of kids already?” When I hung up and told Taras, he looked at me with a glint in his eye and said “Why does your brother want to punish you with his life?” I was struck. I thought to myself “Why am I not dating this man? He so clearly gets me!”

And so it was that we began dating and fell in love. We walked – everywhere. We laughed. We had our private jokes. We discovered one another and the ridiculous number of interests we had in common.

And then he got cancer.

It is an extraordinary fact that we lived just two blocks away from each other in the 1990s, went to the same shops and restaurants and bars. I used to joke with him that someone up there randomly pointed at him and at me as young adults and said “Those two! But not yet…”

Because Taras came into my life just when I needed him. And although we did not know it yet, fell in love just as he was going to be needing me.

And I am thankful for the immense pain I have at his loss. Because it is a measure of the love we shared for one another. Taras handled his disability and his illness with grace and strength and humor. He faced life’s difficulties squarely in the face and never succumbed to negativity. When I asked him, he said there was no point in getting upset over things he could not control. Life with Taras was fun. And when it got hard, he hugged me and never forgot to thank me for taking care of him. He even made a joke after having a stroke! I was sitting bedside caressing his arm and he said “You’re stroking me!”

In his last days I asked him if he was scared and he said no. I asked him if he was sad and he said no. He had made his peace. And I am thankful to say that his final hours were truly peaceful and without pain.

So, yes, I am deeply, deeply sad. But I am not angry. I am grateful for the gift that was Taras and the life we had together. And it is in the spirit of the mourner’s Kaddish prayer that I say thank you for the gift that was Taras, with whom I shared a life and with whom all of us here had the honor of knowing. Dyakuyu.
gina_r_snape: (Hug)
Hi everyone.
So, while I make the great assumption that my blog friends live far away from NYC, I thought I would post the funeral and donation information anyway, in case anyone is around, not on FB, and would like to say goodbye.

We will be hosting the following:

Saturday 4/15
Wake with viewing at the Greenwich Village Funeral Home
199 Bleecker St.
1-3pm and 5-7pm

There will be an "afterparty" from 8-10pm at
Big Bar
75 E 7th St.

Wednesday 4/19
Funeral at St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church
30 E 7th St.
9:30am


Anyone wishing to make a donation in his honor may contribute to:

United Spinal Association
https://www.unitedspinal.org/ways-to-give

(email me at ginarsnape at earthlink dot net for the contact information and his name)

or

Planetary Society
https://secure.planetary.org/site/SPageNavigator/supportprojects.html

gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Default)
Last night I received a phone call that he'd become unresponsive. So today I went to the hospital, contacted his family, and sat with him until he passed. His mother got to say goodbye. My brother and sister-in-law came and sat with me awhile. One of his close longtime friends got to say goodbye. And at the end I sat with him facing me, his brother on the other side of the bed, my friend Lisa who came to be with me at the foot of the bed. And we waited.

I met with the hospice team earlier in the day. They talked with me about what I understood of his condition. They asked me about him as a person. I showed them some photos. And then I cried and they hovered over me.

After that I just sat quietly in the room with him all afternoon. I purchased a customized urn. I spoke to a few friends on the phone, and held his hand and was comforted by the sound of his breathing. He was hooked up to a monitor. I watched the monitor for signs and prayed that he went quickly. The hospice team had told me he might take a few days. But I sat and held his hand and told him it was ok to go. That I had friends taking care of me. His brother had friends taking care of him. His father was waiting for him. (His mother told me she had a dream a few weeks ago that he was a baby. His father picked him up and brought him into another room and closed the door behind them. When his mother went to follow, he told her not to come).

At one point they gave him some pain medicine because they were planning to transport him to a hospice bed. Then he opened his eyes somewhat and I felt him gazing upon me. His eyes eventually opened more into a fixed stare and the monitors started showing his heart rate slowing down and oxygen depleting. I again told him that I loved him and that it was ok to go. Not to hang on for my sake. After awhile I could see the change come over his face. He had departed. The monitors showed less and less and less. And then his heart stopped beating completely and he was really gone.

It was so quiet, so peaceful. He wasn't in pain. And he wasn't alone. I was the last thing he saw. And I am so thankful. I'm thankful I could be there for him. I'm thanking for what little time we had together. I am thankful his brother was gracious and not horrible. I am thankful for what he's taught me about love, and patience, and trust. And now I have to learn how to carry on without him.

Goodbye, my love.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Default)
And just like that, summer is here. It's nearing the end of May and I've already had cause for turning on the A/C. The clock is ticking on me getting dissertation writing done (I plan to send something in to my committee in July). And I haven't even posted the pictures I took at the Pride Parade nearly a year ago. :shameface: I've been totally exhausted lately. I'm sure it's work-related and just caught up to me. But now I've fallen into a pattern where I don't sleep well at night, wake up tired, come home and nap after work, and don't sleep well again. Here's hoping the 3-day bank holiday weekend helps fix that.

On the plus side, T-Rex and I are coming up on our first anniversary! And I've joined another CSA. I've given up on the last one. I found them just too disorganized and it was a struggle to pick up the produce by 6pm. So this year I joined the Stanton Street CSA. They held a little "welcome orientation" last weekend and I got to meet the farmer. He was a lovely, soft-spoken fellow who talked about his farming, philosophy and commitment to supporting area agriculture and good labor practices. And he gave us a sense of what to expect, which was quite helpful. I got to meet the home organizers and some of the members and everyone seems super nice. I also have a share partner, who I have not met yet. (She posted on a board looking for someone). But we have emailed and spoken on the phone.

Pickups are Thursdays, so at least I can prep/store/cook at the weekend.

I leave you with this picture. T-Rex and went for a walk after dinner earlier this week and stopped for dessert at a place called Dessert Club. I got a green tea shaved ice and boy was this more than I expected!



And yes, I am totally omitting the story about how I was feeling too ill and tired this weekend to go out so T-Rex went to the Waystation with some other Whovians and wound up meeting Matt Smith and Steven Moffat there.
gina_r_snape: me as drawn by pennswoods (Default)
I posted this to LJ, and them remembered the folks over here. So here ya go.




+



+

A revamping of Hermione's wig


=

?

Hint: The Master (Delgado) was a bit flirtatious with her at one point.
gina_r_snape: (Noel emotional breakdown (NME shoot))
I posted this Saturday on LJ. But remembering there are folks over here not there, I'm posting it again.

---

Greetings flist. I'm feeling melancholy and nostalgic this morning. The weather is freezing out and I woke up with low blood sugar. At breakfast I drank too much very strong tea and now I'm trying to recover before starting my day. I plan to make a challah bread, and after that I'm not sure. Plans for a "board game" evening with friends were thwarted, and T-Rex has a lot of tasks to take care of during the day today.

While waiting for my blood sugar to normalize and the caffeine to settle down, I watched a show called How The Edwardians Spoke. It was very interesting; and watching people listening to recordings of their deceased relatives got me thinking about my own. All three of my grandparents (I never met my paternal grandfather) died over 10 years ago. My brothers have silent home movies of my maternal grandparents from the 1960s and 70s, but when I've asked them for a copy I always get told they are stored somewhere in the attic and they are too busy/lazy/disinterested to dig them out for me. So I got a bit emotional on the couch, thinking about them. One woman in the documentary said she couldn't remember what her brother sounded like, which of course got me thinking about what my grandparents sounded like. I longed to hear their voices. How could I not start crying, right?

Have I mentioned that I've met T-Rex's mother? I've been to her place twice now. She's a lovely, funny, interesting woman in her 80s with witty and painful stories of her life in the Ukraine and the States. Her flat reminds me of my paternal grandmother, clean but cluttered, overstuffed and decorated with cultural brick-a-brac (in her case Ukrainian instead of Spanish). When she tells me stories, I find myself longing to hear my grandparents' stories. Of course I regret never having the foresight to interview them before their passing. My maternal grandfather, in particular, would tell me bits of things about the neighborhood where I live; I live where he grew up and frequently walk past where he was born. He and I weren't as close as I was to my very affectionate grandmother. He was a quiet man, not terribly demonstrative. But "still waters run deep" as they say, and I know he loved me.

I suppose it's better to cry over the loss of loved ones than to cry over never having them, though. Right?

It's very cold in NYC. And work has been tirelessly pressing. The clients complained about the draughts (our building is in desperate need of repair but funds remain unforthcoming). So after gaining permission from the city, we were able to put tape (and in some cases plastic) on the windows to stop the draughts.

Of course, the temperature then went up to the point where the clients wanted to undo the tape and open their windows. But that was short-lived and we are plunged into freezing temps once again. We have a particularly needy, whiny bunch at the moment. And I am worried about getting audited while on holiday at Gallifrey. So this week I'll be doing my best to prepare my staff in case that happens.

On the physical front, I've been waking up with low blood sugars for a few days. I'm not sure how much of it is hormonal, but if it continues after a few more days I will know it's because I've now lost 7 lbs. T-Rex bought me a "Fitbit One" tracker and I've been using it to track my steps, miles, calories burned, sleep, and logging my food and weight. It's working. And although the numbers suggests I should be losing about 1 to 1.5 lbs per week, I am losing between .5 and .75 a week and that's good enough for me. When you have diabetes, it sometimes gets in the way of best laid plans. Blood sugar drops mean more calories. But it occurred to me not long ago that I really shouldn't complain about having a disease where one of the "cures" to a critical problem is eating sweets. I also think my metabolism is slow, and so I probably don't burn as many calories as the device assumes based on height, age, etc.

The best part about having the Fitbit is that the goal setting works. As a behavioral modification tool, it does actually get me moving more than I might have otherwise. I am motivated to meet my daily step goal. And as T-Rex walks A LOT, this is something we can do together. Plus, it's something I can keep up unlike other exercise plans such as workout videos or a gym membership (as history has shown unsustainable for me).

Anyway, I'm grateful today is Saturday. I can take things at a slower pace and do something that makes me feel good. So challah bread it is! Oh, and prepping for Gally. I will be COSplaying someone else this year in addition to Queen Victoria, and her outfit is not yet fully together.

Happy Saturday, flist.
gina_r_snape: (Noel flirty hair twirl)
Thought I'd post this here as LJ is acting up (and [personal profile] cmcmck suggested it!

Greetings flist!

It's been a busy few weeks and I am more than remiss in wishing you all a Happy Chanukkah, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

T-Rex and I have been so super busy that I opted to stay home today, slightly crushed from fatigue. (I slept until 1pm!).

One thing we did to be in the holiday spirit was go to the Holiday Train Show at the Transit Museum shop at Grand Central. This video is waaaay better than the one I attempted. Enjoy!



We also rode a vintage train! It ran along the M line. T-Rex and I enjoyed it so much we went twice! First on our own, then with some friends the weekend after. Here are some clickable thumbnail photos (and a few videos) of the train ride and assorted other Christmas-y New Yorkness.

Enjoy!

Photobucket

T-Rex and I with friends on the train )



Reproductions of vintage ads, along with some old train signs )


Some other views of the train )


I'd forgotten how loud these old trains were. But LJ keeps cutting off my post and now this is the third time I'll try to re-type it. GRRRRR!!!! Embedding this video seems to be a culprit, so here's a direct link

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v64/ginarsnape/?action=view¤t=IMG_1718_zps9a83c0df.mp4

It was great fun riding the vintage train. I remember it from my childhood, so it brought back tons of memories. T-Rex remembers it too, and he loves trains. So it was a joy just to watch his face light up when we were on it. The friends who accompanied us had never ridden them, so that was a treat. :-)

T-Rex did a lot of walking in December. Here are a few pics of us about town )
Christmas itself was quiet and lovely. I LOOOOVED the Doctor Who Christmas Special. I felt a real spark of excitement for the Doctor finding (being found by?) a new companion. And there was good chemistry between them. So for the first time in ages, I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

And New Year's Eve was quiet. Neither of us felt like heavy partying (or being around other people, even!) So I put together a little cheese plate. We ate some nibbly things and sipped our drinks and sat on my couch and giggled. And as T-Rex noticed a 7-second delay from the Times Square broadcast, we toasted the new year twice. ^__^ It was wonderful to be tucked into our little hidey-hole, away from the rest of the world.

And now here's hoping this entry doesn't get clipped again. I wish you all the best for 2013, flist!

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