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Thursday, March 04, 2010

16 Years: In Loving Memory

[a guest post by Zahava]

Dear Ima:

Tonight will mark the 15th year that I will light a candle on your yahrzeit.  I can't imagine how the time could have passed so quickly. 

How could that be possible?  It seems like just yesterday that I presented you with your first grandchild - the only one you would get to hold - and begged you to want to continue your fight against cancer.... to be here for her... for me... for us.  

Just before you died, you apologized to me for lacking the strength to continue your fight.

Today, as I prepare to open myself again to the grief of losing you, I want you to know that I am grateful for the many ways that you have continued to be here for me -- precisely due to your strength: your strength of character; your strength of conviction; and the strength of the love you showered upon all who continue to feel and mourn your loss.

So many times I have glanced around our Shabbat table and have seen you in my family; your laugh; your sense of humor; your great capacity for love and compassion. 

On this, the eve which marks the 16th year of your departure, I want to thank you.  I want to thank you for building a relationship with me which is so rich with good memories that I know I need never fear 'running out'.

As your child I say: I miss you. I love you. I wish I could have you back... if only for a moment. Your loss still hurts. 

Tremendously.

Posted by David Bogner on March 4, 2010 | Permalink

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Dear Zehava
May I wish you a long, healthy and happy life together with your family. I found your mail touching a nerve. I am in my year of avelut for my dear father who passed away in Israel last Elul and it is a very difficult time. I know he was an old man, I also know that I am a grandmother of 5 (כן ירבו( but he was my DADDY my only dear father and I love him so much for so long and miss him terribly.

Posted by: yaffa glass | Mar 4, 2010 2:24:03 PM

I am so sorry for your loss and your grief. May your memories continue to comfort you.

Posted by: Baila | Mar 4, 2010 2:53:00 PM

yaffa: it truly does NOT matter how old, or how accomplished, we are when we lose a parent.... we will always be their children.... i am so sorry for your loss. i hope that you will find the minhagim of sh'nat aveilut to be a comfort -- they were a huge source of comfort to me.

baila: thank you for your kind support! the memories are especially sweet this year because through the wonder of technology (which for purposes of this conversation we will name Facebook) i have been able to chat with some of my cousins and exchange some really wonderful memories...

Posted by: zahava | Mar 4, 2010 3:45:51 PM

Beautiful, poignant post.
Very meaningful to anybody who has experienced this loss.

AD BIYAS HAGOEL - BIMHAYRA BIYAMEINU

Posted by: G6 | Mar 4, 2010 4:53:31 PM

I, too, have fond memories of your Mom, though only having known her very briefly.
She was very open to our family as you & David were beginning your lives together. And to me personally, she was generous and openly accepting of my 'lifestyle' which was extremely welcome to me in that day and time (1991!).

One of my favorite memories was when I was up in Schenectady on business and she invited me to stop over for dinner. While there, she proudly showed me the bridesmaids dresses she had found for your wedding and had bought for us all and she said with a smile on her face, "I KNOW this is not your thing, but for $25, put it on, look beautiful and then do what you want with it afterwards!" We laughed so hard as I trudged around her kitchen in that dress... but I survived the experience, as she knew I would, and gained a wonderful sister-in-law in the process!

Thinking of her and you tomorrow. Love you.

Posted by: val | Mar 4, 2010 4:56:06 PM

G6: thank you. many years ago, i read hope edelman's "motherless daughters" -- it is an exceptionally well written study of the mother-daughter relationship and how a daughter's loss of her mother can easily defy the kubler-ross 5-stages of death and grieving process. one of the many, many reasons which i continue to write about my mom -- and how losing her at 28 affected and continues to affect me -- is in the hopes of giving others the same sense of comfort and normalcy which i garnered from having read that book. if there is anything i have learned from this whole journey, it is that grief is an extremely individual and unpredictable process.

val: i knew i could count on you to send me back to the box of kleenex -- and true to form you did not disappoint! it is so hard for me to express how much it means to you that you, david, liz and benjamin all had a nice relationship (albeit brief) with my mom! when you all share your memories with me it is confirmation that my memories are accurate, that my sense of loss is justified, and that she was one heck of a wonderful mom! it was a great source of joy for her that marrying into your family meant an increase in the love and support in my life, and she loved you all very much. you can pick your spouse -- but your inlaws are a package-deal. believe me when i say i do not take for granted to be doubly blessed. i am truly grateful to have found not only wonderful family, but a truly wonderful and supportive friend. love you too!

Posted by: zahavaza | Mar 4, 2010 8:33:27 PM

The thought of losing my mother is so frightening that I can't stomach it. I'm so sorry that your mother is no longer with you. I imagine that this is one kind of wound that time doesn't heal.

Posted by: Raizy | Mar 5, 2010 6:57:58 AM

I remember a conversation I had with my grandfather a number of years ago. He was 89 and reminiscing about his father. Midway through he choked up and told me how sad he was not to have shared various life experiences with him.

You are right, age doesn't matter. We always miss our parents.

Posted by: Jack | Mar 5, 2010 7:21:47 AM

What a beautiful tribute. I always say to people who have experienced the death of someone close, "May your memories bring you strength" because I think recalling precious moments can be so powerful and healing.

I have vivid memories of, when Morey's father died shortly before we got married, he, his mother and brother sitting in the livingroom sharing stories and laughing until they cried. I sat on the steps to the basement where I had been storing food, listening to them laugh together, because I didn't want to "break the spell" by walking through the livingroom at that special moment.

It sounds like you have a lot of wonderful strength.

Posted by: Alissa | Mar 8, 2010 6:57:04 PM

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