Dearest Mom,

Happy Mother’s Day.

It’s our first one in different dimensions. The last few you’ve been on a different continent in a different part of the world.

Now you are in Heaven, and I am here.

And still I feel your presence, like the praying mantis that landed on my shoulder in Jerry’s kitchen on the day we buried you in Israel.

I know you are watching, kvelling, advising, loving and protecting me.

I have your picture in my office, and when I video tape myself for the internet, your picture is on a table and you are looking over my right shoulder.

I know you are proud of me, and still think I spend too much time on my computer, but at least we have some buyers this week!

I know you are happy that I have a very good man living with me, devoted to me, caring for me, and I am no longer alone.

I know you are with our loved ones, free from your diminished body and mind, and fully present for them and for me.

I miss you, Mom, but I missed you more when you were alive but not here. That’s not true when I write it. I still could see you and tell you I loved you and have you smile at me sometimes.

I don’t think I’ve ever really processed the pain and fear and sadness and remorse and ultimate powerlessness I felt in the last two months of your life.

I abdicated control to Jerry and Israel, and I regretted deeply their lack of hospice.

I am so very sorry for all the suffering you endured in the name of trying to save you.

I know Jerry meant well, and Israel meant well, but I could see the suffering in your eyes, hear the moans that you made, and saw the look of “help me, save me, let me go” that was in your eyes for the 12 days I spend with you in January.

And when Dana called me in tears, or Healey or Erin, and we all knew that you wanted to be free of the pain, even as Jerry was fighting for your life, it was such an impossible time for all of us.

When I saw your lifeless face in the morgue, I could feel your soul’s presence in the corner of the room, letting me know that you were okay.

I couldn’t cry at your funeral, though I was present and grateful for all who showed up that day to join us as we said goodbye to you.

Jerry’s kids were all in tears, and when I read your eulogy, I was sorry I didn’t speak from my heart instead. But I knew you knew all I wanted to say.

The tears finally came when I said Yiskor with Jerry on the Friday night before shabbas – and before I left Israel to come home.

I loved being around that table of family, sitting in your seat, wishing you were still there.

But we had 97 years – or rather 72 years — together, and they were all wonderful. Truly Mom, you are the Best.

You were always a “little girl” at heart the baby of your family.

But you were also the biggest heart in ours.

Filled with unconditional love, non-judgment, and a capacity to forgive and forget that knew no limits.

You had unlimited hugs, scooches, back rubs, and for most of our lives, chicken soup.

You weathered Daddy’s storms, and continued on without him to forge a life for yourself filled with dates, gambling, shopping, Fox news, great outfits and the constant joy that just being with your family brought you.

You traveled to and from Israel and made it easy for us to ship you back and forth.

You never lost sight of what was going on in all of our lives, and you always had an encouraging word whenever it was needed.

You never missed an opportunity to comment on my hair.

This is my first Mother’s Day without you, Mom, and Jerry’s too.

But your best job of all was fostering the intense love and closeness that we feel as siblings. We drive each other crazy, but we each know home is in each other’s hearts.

You raised a magnificent son, Mom, All that coddling and ironing and supporting paid off. His heart is endless. And even though he has a bit more of Daddy’s volatility than I do (at least overtly), his nashooma is a direct reflection of the best of both of you.

So thanks for my brother, dearest Mother, and for his family that took you in in Israel, and has me and my kids surrounded by love.

Thank you for your legacy of love, Mom… for showing me how to mother and how to adore my progeny with complete devotion.

That’s what you did and still do.

I hope Jerry can feel your presence as I do. I do know you’re in Heaven watching out for both of us – for all of us.

Thank you, Mom, beyond all words…. for being you, and helping me be me.

I’m still a work in progress, but you hold the blueprint, and I keep trying to emulate what I felt from you all my life.

I’ll be grateful for the times I see my kids.

I won’t make them feel guilty for anything they do not do.

I will appreciate every moment, and celebrate family.

Thanks for all the wisdom, lessons, and life example.

I’ll do more to follow in your footsteps, and I know my children will thank me for it.

God bless you always, Dearest Mom, as he has blessed us with having you.

Give my love to all at the Table – and thank Daddy, too, for giving us life.

Love you both…. so much…. xoxo

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