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In which my mom had the last word — repost

Barbara Procton

My mom died on January 25, 1997.  She was 64 years old.  Before she died she wrote a letter to the Rabbi explaining how she would like to be remembered.  This letter was read at her funeral and at the Bar and Bat Mitzvahs of each of her grandchildren.  I love this letter and in honor of my mom, on the 17th anniversary of her death, I’d like to share it with you.  Mom, I love you and I miss you.

September 8, 1995

Dear Rabbi Guttman,

I have sifted through my thoughts for this letter dozens of times since you suggested I commit to paper those attributes for which I would like to be remembered.  Since Jerry and I leave the country in a few days, the eleventh hour is here.

If I were to be remembered for just one quality it would be my passionate belief in justice.  For as long as I can remember I’ve abhorred judgments based on race, religion, gender or social standing.  I truly believe we are responsible for others even beyond our own family and friends.

As a Jew I find it impossible to countenance racism, bigotry and stereotyping.  Fanaticism regardless of cause since it assumes that those who disagree are wrong-headed and in the case of religion – heretics or non-believers.

I’d like to be remembered for saying what I really believed — and yes for having opinions.  I’ll be the first to admit that some of those have turned out to be downright foolish but I think it’s better to have ideas and express them than to remain on the periphery of life or a discussion.  The free exchange of ideas, whether politically correct or not is at the center of progress and personal growth.

And while I’m on the subject of growth, I’d like to think that I’ve been a really good teacher, both in and out of formal classroom situations.  There is nothing more satisfying that helping people explore the human condition and therefore widen understanding of self or planning a seed and watching it grow and flourish.  Parenthood gives us each the opportunity and in a really great marriage both partners learn from each according to their strengths.

And yes, I’d like to be remembered for having a full range of emotions readily expressed;  for crying at the movies or when music or art touched my soul and laughing with people and at life’s vagaries.

And lastly, I’d like to be remembered for having grace under pressure.  For putting one foot in front of another and somehow muddling through.  For learning to surrender to fate while not giving up.

And of course by my children for doing the best I could and sharing who and what I am with them.  By my children’s spouses, for having slowly learned that they are not my children but that doesn’t’ mean they don’t admire and respect and even love me.

And by my grandchildren as SILLY grandma, grammy and monimo.  I truly wish that all of these memories will serve as my immortality even when my body has ceased to exist.


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  1. Sherry Peterson
    January 27, 2014

    Wow. What an amazing and interesting person your mother must have been.

    • Lynn
      January 28, 2014

      thanks…she really, really was amazing

  2. ARod
    January 27, 2014

    beautiful thanks for sharing

    • Lynn
      January 28, 2014

      thank you

  3. TC
    January 29, 2014

    This is beautiful! Thanks for sharing, you had a cool mom.

    • Lynn
      January 30, 2014

      thanks…yeah, i miss her

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