On the last night of Pesach my Mother suddenly passed away and was reunited with my Father (z”l).
I got up from shiva right before Shabbat and am trying to come to terms with all that has happened and the fact that my Mother is gone.
While I spoke at my Father’s levaya, I couldn’t seem to do so at my Mother’s. I’m not sure why but it didn’t seem necessary. Maybe it’s because my mother and father were always a team. Anything one did was 100% supported (and assisted) by the other. They were a team.
My Mother (z”l) was a remarkable woman. She graduated from University of Chicago majoring in Chemistry at a time when women didn’t even go to college. After graduating she taught grade school and then at the high school level. According to her good and long time friend Elayne “You and your sister may be beautiful, but your mother was stunning“! The high school guys she was teaching used to hit on her but she only had eyes for my father. She was often stopped in the hall by administrators asking for her hall pass, and she had to explain she was the teacher…not a student!
Mom was extremely creative and organized. She was part of many school organizations. As her children grew and entered different schools, she and my father both rolled up their sleeves and got to work. My mother worked on PTA rummage sales, tag days and other school fundraisers and committees. She ultimately became president of the Hebrew Theological College Yeshiva Women and ran their Woman of Valor lunches for 600 women at the Palmer House Hotel. The Rabbi remarked that after she had negotiated a rock bottom price from the catering manager she would comment “and that includes dessert…right?”.
My mother took care of her mother her whole life, her father having passed away at the age of just 14. My Bubbie lived with my mother her whole life, even right after my mother married my father – a huge testament to them both. They had such Kibud Aym. My grandmother always felt cherished and respected.
My parents were big proponents of tzedaka bsaser – giving charity secretly. They would drop off food to needy families (sick, sitting shiva, hard times) without any expectation of payback. Someone needed something, they gave it. This was before there were bikur cholim whatsapp groups and phone trees. They just did what was needed without a marching band playing behind them.
Later in life, after my father passed away, my Mom would come to us every single week for lunch on Shabbat, with rare exceptions. We often have young adults/professionals at our meal, and my Mom became Bubbie to them all. Everyone loved Bubbie. So many of the messages and emails that came during Shiva said “We’ll so miss Bubbie”. Not your mom…Bubbie. She was a part of so many lives.
My Mother had developed a snappy sense of humor. She was known for her little phrases:
Give my Mom a compliment and she would say: “I’ll pay you later”
The doctor would ask her how she was feeling and if she had any pain. She would respond “Pain in the neck”
“Neither a borrower nor a lender be for a loan oft loses both itself and a friend.” This didn’t imply that she didn’t “lend” anything. Her philosophy was:
“Don’t lend anything that you’re not prepared to give away.” She and my father often “loaned” money to people, but to them they were giving a gift. Anything that was “lent” wasn’t really…it was given with love.
I have written countless articles about my parents, my relationship with them, and their impact upon me – especially relating to cooking. I can’t seem to bring myself to write an entire article about my mother right now – everything has been said. I tried very hard to give hakarat hatov and talk about them while she and my father were alive.
Here are links to some of my favorite articles.
I miss you Mom & Dad. May your memory be for a blessing.