I attended a friends Mother’s funeral earlier this week. The Mother was 91. She led an extraordinary life. Some of her own choosing. My friend and her sister were lucky to have their Mother be loving and in their lives well into their late 50’s/early 60’s.
I point out that Mom was loving. It is an important distinction in someone’s life. I remarked to my friend that I felt she was lucky that she and her Mother had time to get over petty and sometimes childish grudges we kids, rightly or wrongly, hold against our parents. They had the opportunity to speak to one another as adults with a much different perspective than even a thirty year-old would have. This long life of pain and joy allowed daughters and Mother to iron out old wrinkles.
I was truly touched by the many stories of love and patience related about this one woman. She touched so many lives in so many ways. So many loving ways. I had read her obituary. I learned more about my friend’s Mom than details I could no longer recall from long ago conversations about their relationship. I was once again, surprised at the ability of a person to not only survive devastating tragedies that I am pretty sure would have ended me but, to thrive in spite of them.
Three words congealed together in my head during the service that seems to have a poem waiting to be written below them. Those words, in my mind, defined (all to small for such a large life) this woman of love and dignity.
My friend’s Mother survived the Holocaust. Unfortunately, her Father did not. Nor did some other relatives. If I recall correctly her Father died on their train to Aushcwitz. How does one Jewishly bury a dead person’s body when you are packed so closely together you have to take turns sitting down? I do not know. I imagine they did not either. Neither did they know or were they able to bury him Jewishly. Certain things simply are not possible. God will forgive and understand in the long run.
She not only survived the Holocaust she found a way to thrive. Everyone at th ememorial spoke of Mom’s humor, patience, notes (secret revealed while daughters going through her possessions). Turns out the secret of her heartfelt and dead on sentiments in cards came from greeting card sentiments she kept in boxes along the way. I am pretty sure they must have been cataloged in some fashion. She would then, practice writing them out in her own handwriting. I can only presume that made her feel like they were truly from her and from her heart. Which, they were in either case. [Paying attention out there? This is a GREAT idea.]
She found a husband who she remained married to for over 52 years ending only with his death two to three years ago. Every time someone spoke of her I was sure no one would speak of me this way. For whatever reason it is not my nature. Though, I may try (and I do) to be less of a sour-puss I am still one.
Throughout the ceremony three words appeared in many way, under many options until, they coalesced into three words, that to me, seem to sum up her life.
These three words: Wise Woman Young