Woman of Valor, Who Can Find One?


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We all know that this day came too soon. I thought I had so much time before I had to sit here writing this eulogy. I thought I’d get home from Israel and she’d be sitting up in bed, making a joke about how she had to pull this elaborate stunt just to get us back to the states.

Because my mom mom loved us so, so much. She would do anything for us, her children, her diamonds. Her love was more than emotional, it was tangible. You could feel it in every cup of tea, every bowl of addicting-as-crack-cocaine macaroni salad; every word of advice, and every hug and kiss she gave. We wear her love like a warm sweater on a cold day, surround ourselves with it to shield us from any storm.

As the family peacemaker, mom mom was the glue that held everything together, from Passover Seders, which she started planning on Rosh Hashana, to remembering to give birthday presents way before your birthday month was even due. Mom mom never put up with any arguing, especially between Becca and me, and somehow managed to diffuse any situation without getting agitated herself.

Mom mom was the kind of person that could be happy anywhere, from watching the horses cross the field at Golden Acres to sipping tea on her porch across from Whole Foods, if mom mom wanted something, she went for it on her own. And she always succeeded, most times beating the odds. She encouraged and pushed in the kindest and gentlest way, and she never ceased to tell us how proud she was of all of us just for being exactly who we are.

It was no secret that mom mom was smart, but she never flaunted her accomplishments – she left that up to pop pop, who would call her Dr. Janet just because she earned it. I even think that every once in a while she would play the role of the ditzy blonde so as not to let on just exactly how smart she really was. But once you figured it out, you had access to a wealth of knowledge, advice, and experience that would get you through any challenge you faced. And she shared it, willingly and readily.

Mom mom taught me a lot of different lessons, but the most important one I learned by example, and I hope that one day I can emulate her in it. That’s the lesson of unconditional love. That when you think that you’ve given everything you have, there’s always a little more. That love doesn’t have limits – hers most certainly did not.

I thought that we had so much more time. There are so many things I’d love to say to mom mom, so many things that I’ll never get the chance to tell her. But the one that I know that she knew; I know that she knows that I love her so, so much. We all do. And that we will always carry her love in our hearts, everywhere we go, for the rest of our lives. Thank you for the gift of your love.

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

E.E. Cummings

 

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in

my heart)i am never without it(anywhere

i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done

by only me is your doing,my darling)

                                                      i fear

no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want

no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you

 

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows

higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

 

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

 

 

Kaddish


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Pop Pop dancing at my wedding, a memory I will cherish forever.

For any of you that knew my Pop Pop, you know that this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about doing this. For the past five years, my Pop Pop has been very sick, and my family and I have prepared for this day more than once.

But when I think about my Pop Pop, I don’t think about how sick he was, or how he looked, walked, talked, or felt over the past few years. The Pop Pop I remember, and whom I want all of you to remember, was much bigger than anything or anyone I’ve ever known in my whole life.

He was so tall, that when he took my sister and me to Golden Acres Dude Ranch in Gilboa, NY, the only kosher Dude Ranch of its kind; they actually had to bring a horse out of retirement so that he could ride it.

He appreciated the little things in life, and loved telling jokes. I spent many hours in the car wondering just where this man Ishkabible Fafufnick actually lived and if we would ever get to Jepip, and for years I thought that if my sister and I stayed up talking in our bedroom in their house, our other house, that our noses would really start to grow.

He called us, his family, his diamonds – and he cherished us beyond belief. My sister and I grew up with an idea of piety and faith because of him; practiced the alef-beis until our faces were blue time and time again. It always amazed us that a man who had seen as much as he had, who had experienced loss the way that he had, could still believe so steadfastly in G-d. My grandfather knew how to love, and he was a holy man; a man who upheld his faith in the face of many different types of adversity.

I don’t want to say goodbye to my grandfather; rather, I want to say that I will see him later, in another life, or another realm, soon, in our own days.