Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Russia will Always Have a Piece of My Heart.

Leon called last night as I had walked in the door, I didn't answer as I was putting all my things down. No sooner had the call ended that I received the most painful text, "Hey Nicole, it's Leon, I just wanted to tell you that Babooshka had a heart attack and is in cardiac arrest and she is on life support. She is going to pass tomorrow morning."

My fingers couldn't dial fast enough. No answer. I began texting, "Where is she, can I come see her?" I grabbed my keys and headed out the door to Cedars Sinai. I was more emotional than I had been with Goose. I would assume the complete shock of things and the sudden digression would be what played into these extreme emotions. Seperstein Critical Care Unit, room 7S26, lay the most beautiful woman. As I walked into the room I embraced Nelya, so tight neither of us wanted to let go as we cried in each others arms. I then walked over to Irina and gave her a hug. We had to place yellow robes on as we entered the room. I listened as a Russian nurse explained things to the new American nurse taking over. All of her vital signs.

Nelya had fed her mother Easter dinner at 6:00pm on Sunday night, shortly after, at 6:15, she had a heart attack. They called 911 and rushed her to the hospital. Once at the hospital the doctors found that her brain activity was dead and her kidneys had failed. Irina turned to me and said, "Jesus took her on his day." I asked the family how to say I love you in Russian, "Ya tebya lyublyu." As I combed her silver hair on her head with my fingers, I whispered in her ears, "ya tebya lyublyu." Irina told her grandmother that Nicole the photographer was there. I continued to rub her hair as her eyes opened and her mouth began to move. I would like to believe she was trying to talk to me. Nelya asked Irina to ask me what my favorite color was, she wanted to make me a jewel necklace in memory of Anna.

"Yellow," but what was her favorite color? They discussed and replied, "We don't know."

As we sat in the waiting room while they changed her bed, Leon and his grandfather Yuri arrived. We talked about my trip to Russia and the good timing of it. Leon said, "She really loved her, you made her happy." We laughed about my experience. Leon said Babooshka got sick last week with pneumonia and was in the hospital. They released her Thursday and the family didn't tell me because they didn't think it was anything big.

I turned to Leon, "I am kicking myself in the butt for not getting a photo of all of you together." He said, "I know, I should have pursued that." I had told the family I wanted to take a photo of all of them, somewhere between my busy schedule and life, the photo was never taken. Photos are incredibly valuable and priceless. I will forever be grateful for the photograph that began this beautiful friendship and never again will I delay on a prompting to take a photo because time is not forever.

April 22, 2014 at 9:20pm, Anna Podlesnykh, aka Babooshka joined the angels.

Here are the journals from the trip to Russia. 

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