This blog is not for the light-hearted or easily offended. If either one of those descriptions applies to you, i would suggest you start drinking before you read this blog. A sense of humor is suggested. If you don't have one that sucks for you … find one and get a life!

In which my mom has the last word

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 14th 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.

Barbara

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.

32 Comments

  1. Abby
    January 25, 2011

    She’s beautiful. All over, beautiful.

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      Thanks…I can’t believe it’s been so long. :(

  2. M.J.
    January 25, 2011

    Your mother was an amazing woman. Feel my great big hug from sunny South Florida. In honor of your Mom, please…I beg you…keep us laughing!

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      I’ll try…sheesh, what a lot of pressure!

  3. Carla E. Knight
    January 25, 2011

    I truly enjoyed your mother. I wish I’d had the opportunity to know her better.

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      Thank you…she was!

  4. Ella
    January 25, 2011

    Beautiful.
    She sounds like a wonderful lady.
    What a blessing you had in your life.

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      Thanks…I appreciate the comment. I miss her

  5. JG
    January 25, 2011

    Really awesome post. Long live your mother in the heavens.

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      I appreciate it!

  6. Rebecca
    January 25, 2011

    I’m not sure I could ever say so much in so few words. Wonderful.

    Love the picture, too. Your mom is beautiful.

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      Thank you!

  7. Lynn
    January 25, 2011

    Awww, **sobs*** Beautiful Lynn… just be-u-ti-ful!

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      Thanks! Can’t take credit as my mom wrote it

  8. Pixi
    January 25, 2011

    Seems like she was really amazing. God bless her. She certainly was beautiful, intelligent & wise. Thank you for sharing that.

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      Thanks…I certainly liked her. She was pretty amazing once I grew up and thought about her as a human being…and not just my mom.

  9. Name *
    January 25, 2011

    Wow… what would we write if we had to write such a letter? Maybe that is something we should all do in order to help us evaluate/re-evaluate who we are and where we are in our lives. My Dad died in February, ’96. I can’t believe how quickly that time has passed.

    Your Mom is so beautiful in that photo… I know how you must miss her…

    ~shoes~

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      Thanks, I do miss her everyday…but she’s always with me.

  10. julie
    January 25, 2011

    This knocked me out of my seat. What an incredible, articulate, strong woman you have for a mother (and I said “have” not “had” on purpose because, as you said above, I believe she is always with you).

    My own mother turned 64 on January 19th of this year and I am grateful for everything she has taught me, shared with me, given me. She is not perfect, but if she were, I couldn’t love her as much. There would be too much pressure.

    Here’s to that mother/child relationship. The love you have for your kids comes through in your own words as well.

    So job well done, mamas. Of all generations.

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      Yeah, my mom was a woman of strong convictions and actually taught at a predominantly black college during the bussing era. She was one of a kind and I was lucky to have known her!

  11. Brad
    January 25, 2011

    Every time I read this it awes me how blessed we were to have such rich lives and richer ideals to live up to. The guidance that we have had has made us stronger and far more eloquent in our acceptance of others. May we never forget these ideals. They make each of us stronger and more resilient.

    I only hope that I can continue to follow these principles and make them closer to my heart. I do miss her so.

    • Lynn
      January 25, 2011

      Me too! Good picture, huh?

      • cathy
        January 26, 2011

        awesome pic…you know she was never afraid to be bigger than life!
        What a mystery this place we live in, the journeys we take in life and the human condition….

        • Lynn
          January 26, 2011

          Yeah…I miss her

  12. Samantha
    January 26, 2011

    It sounds like your mother was a smart, beautiful and caring woman. Thank you for sharing.

    • Lynn
      January 26, 2011

      Thanks for reading and commenting

  13. Kimberly
    January 27, 2011

    Your mother really did an excellent job of articulating her legacy…what an outstanding woman she must have been. Beautiful!

    • Lynn
      January 27, 2011

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting so faithfully. Yeah, she was very bright and articulate and always said EXACTLY what she thought. I came by my opinionated ways honestly!

  14. Pammypam
    January 31, 2011

    Wow. What an amazing letter. We shoukd all have that much insight and confidence in ourselves. No wonder you miss her!

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2011

      Thanks…she was an amazing woman. I do miss her, it’s been a long time.

  15. Lady Estrogen
    April 3, 2011

    Wow. That was amazing.
    I don’t think I could have read something like that from my mom.
    Strong, amazing you :)

    • Lynn
      April 4, 2011

      Wasn’t that an incredible letter? I have copies that i have saved for all my kids.

Follow Lynn on Facebook Follow Lynn on Twitter Follow Lynn via RSS Follow Lynn on Pinterest
Enter your Email

Recent articles


Follow Lynn on Facebook Follow Lynn on Twitter Follow Lynn via RSS Follow Lynn on Pinterest




Go to All Fooked Up Store 

Lynn MacDonald Art