The holidays are growing closer, Easter for some, Passover for others, as well as Earth Day and Arbor Day; nostalgia is creeping into my blood stream. On April 11th, it will mark six months since the passing of my mother, and today it feels like a lifetime since I spoke to her, held her, even felt that angst of not wanting to call her. Yes, I admit, calling my mom at times was a chore for me because I wanted the conversation to be light and carefree but it always had a little bit of my mom’s personality in it that I didn’t understand until she got ill.
You see my mom said what she said with a flavorful zing! She never meant to hurt anyone with her words, but sometimes her words and manner stung if you let it, and I did. But now I look back, and I would give anything to have one of those conversations again. But there were days when I made excuses why I couldn’t, wouldn’t call her; I just wasn’t prepared for the one word, one comment that she might say.
My mom, my DVasha, was a character and I loved her and still do. With the holidays approaching not only will I be missing her, but her extended family, the Siegel’s and Jaffe’s who took Auntie Dorothy under their wing, when their Mother and Nanna Annie passed away in the 1990’s. Auntie Annie, my favorite Aunt, my mother’s sister was much like my mom. They were best friends though many years apart in age. (I have many of my Auntie Annie’s traits, we both wear white gloves when we clean!)
I have wonderful memories of these two beautiful ladies especially around holiday time, cooking together in the kitchen, sharing my Baube’s recipes, perfecting the Passover meal and bringing our families together year after year. Sadly, it’s been 30+ years since I have been home for a Passover Seder and I miss the old fashion chaos and the long-drawn drawl of my Zayde and father reciting every single word in the Haggadah. Although before my father’s passing in 2004 we did get home for a small replica of a Seder dinner, which I will cherish in my memory bank as well. However, by that time Auntie Annie had passed-on as had many other relatives that once sat around our table. The traditions had changed as well as the long-drawn-out drawl of the service was quickly over for the younger generation.
Memories are beautiful as well as sometimes painful. Sometimes we paint a picture of what we believe we remember to be so perfect, so homogenized that we wish time would have stopped and nothing had changed. And yet, if time had stopped, just think of all that we all may have missed out on? With the good, there will be some not so good, and it is up to each one of us to find a way to filter through the not so good to even out those bumps in the road.
As sad as I feel to leave all those wonderful memories bottled up, or on paper or in the vast universe of the worldwide web, I know I cannot have those same Seder dinners back, nor can you have the same Easter Parades, egg hunts, or family dinners. However, we can have what we create today with our family, blood relatives or those we choose to call family and friends. Today is the day to create new beginnings, to resolve to have “Better Outcomes,” not just to dream the impossible but to believe “IMPOSSIBLE = I’M POSSIBLE.”
With the holidays, just weeks away, if you choose to be alone, do it with grace. If you know someone who is going to be alone, extend your hand and invite them to your table. There is a difference between someone choosing to be alone and loneliness. Let that person decide, too many are alone, without a choice. My mother and her sisters always had extra seats at their table, if they knew someone was alone, they extended their hand. This tradition is not as prevalent in today’s society, and I think we need to go back to the neighborhood friendly community we once were.
Just a side note, I moved to the Cleveland area in 1981. Except for one Jewish holiday, my family (Rich, Alex & I) has never been extended a hand outside of the family to participate in any holiday. When my mother-in-law was alive, we spent holiday time with her both Jewish and Christian Days. Holiday time is lonely for us. And now with my mother-in-law gone nine years and my mom’s passing this year, it’s just us. (I use to invite others to my home for years, I extended my hand….)
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