Not Just Mother's Day
The Peonies are in bloom again. Nearly a year later.
Just over a year later, I'm bursting from loss, or wish I were. Nearly a year ago, while trying to comfort me over my mother's (z"l) death, a rabbinical student asked me, "What do you want to ask God?" I posted this here already:
"When do I get to fall apart?"
"And how would God respond?"
"Never," I said because what would my falling apart serve?
Serving others is the antidote to self-pity, yet I want to wallow a little.
Pat's on her annual golf trip in Tennessee with her friends from her days at NIU and I must do all of the daily chores she'd be doing if she were here, since she's retired: filling and re-filling the pitcher from the rain-barrel, watering the plants, feeding the birds and local wildlife along with the kitties (I do feed the kitties daily already -- that's my job), making dinner, taking out the garbage and the recycling, dealing with the guy who needed to waterproof the front steps and walkway....These chores, it turns out, are a pretty nice way to connect with the world right around me.
And I've been doing more connecting than usual this past week, in part to distract myself from imminent, first yahrzeit of my mom's (z"l) death along with our impending trip to Green Bay to unveil my mother-in-law Bev's (z"l) headstone; she died unexpectedly of complications from a fall last month, exactly 10 months after my mom. I loved Bev (z"l), too, and also miss her. When we come back, we'll have my mom's (z"l) unveiling on the 31st of May.
My mom (z"l) is so present in her absence:
On Wednesday last week, she (z"l) was there among the caravan of Stamford [Connecticut -- my hometown, where my mom (z"l) lived for 50 years --] Tents trucks at Duggal Greenhouse in Brooklyn last Wednesday as I was departing from World of Watson, but she was not there to call when I wanted to debrief on the coolness of the experience of seeing a positive future for the world, augmented and aided by artificial intelligence.
My mom (z"l) was there at the Art of the 1990s show at the Montclair Art Museum on Thursday evening as I was telling a new friend how she and my dad (z"l) practically chose to move from the Village to Montclair because it had an art museum, but then chose Stamford, which had one, too, but was not there when I wanted to talk about the couple of interesting installations I saw as part of the exhibit.
My ever-present and shatteringly-absent mom (z"l) was there at the Agudath Shalom Cemetery when we visited her not-yet engraved joint-plot prior to the mezuzah posting ceremony in her memory, held at the Stamford Jewish Community Center Library, and was there at the Senior Lunch afterwards as Mr. Soifer, our Bi-Cultural Day School music teacher, smiled at me as he saw me moving my lips accurately while he sang the extended Kiddush over the Shabbat wine and gone when I wanted to tell her that one of her friends there had said, "Your mother was so valuable to me."
|Rabbi Cohen, reciting blessings|
|Rabbi Cohen, my sisters Kayla and Deb, and me outside of the Stamford JCC Library, where our mom (z"l) volunteered.|
|The mezuzah was created by Chaya Magal and the roses remind us of our mom (z"l); her middle name was Rose.|
She (z"l) was there at the Brookdale Park Conservancy-sponsored *Heaven is a Garden* book talk and signing at Watchung Booksellers on Friday evening, even though I should have been at Shabbat services instead, but gone after our dinner out with two new friends at a restaurant in Montclair that she liked, too.
|Author Jan Johnsen, discussing her marvelous book,*Heaven is a Garden*|
My still-here mother (z"l) was ultra-present when I picked up the tray she gave us some years ago that read, "Smart women crave good company" and which featured only a '50s-era, stylized illustration of women drinking coffee on it and tried to determine how to display it visibly in our newly renovated kitchen/dining room and living room.
|My mom (z"l) said she thought of Pat & me when she saw this platter and got it for us; she had a good sense of humor.|
|Our new kitchen/dining room/library|
|Our refreshed living room|