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In which my mom haunts me

 

I wrote this yesterday

It’s January 30th and last night; January 29th I had the MOST bizarre dreams.  Now I often have bizarre dreams and I often remember them but this dream was beyond crazy, perhaps even beyond insane.

 

In the dream my dad had just died and we were going to have his funeral.  (Maudlin I know)  For some reason, it was a joint funeral because another man that my parents knew had also just died.  I won’t go into the whole disjointed dream except to say that the funeral was “very crowded” and “full of people that I used to used to know in my childhood through swimming” (we were a VERY involved swimming family) and that I couldn’t find anyone and eventually, I ended up in a room and my dad was there.

 

I kept calling “dad, dad” and I got to him and he looked right through me.  I realized that he was dead and that I had “just wanted to see him one more time” so that’s what this was about.  He looked so dapper in his suit though and so happy.

 

Then I went to find my mom and I couldn’t find her anywhere.  Where was she?  I looked at my watch and it was lost. I HAD NO TIME!  I couldn’t find my mom either.

 

Honestly, the dream was way stranger than that but I’ll spare you.  I woke up completely shaken but fortunately for Kevin, not screaming. (I wake up screaming from nightmares sometimes)

 

The more I thought about it the more I realized that my mom had died 15 years ago on January 25, 1997.  She was 64 years old.  Last year on the anniversary of her death I printed a letter that she had written on how she wanted to be remembered.  This letter was read at her funeral and at the Bar and Bat Mitzvahs of each of her grandchildren.  I forgot to do that this year and obviously my mom isn’t putting up with that shit so without further ado, I’m bumping what I was publishing today and putting up my mom’s last letter on how SHE wanted to be remembered:

 

 

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

 

MOM.  I really miss you

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27 Comments

  1. Pettina26
    January 31, 2012

    I’m glad to read your wonderful blog, Which contain of wonderful and inspiring ideas.
    Pettina26 recently posted..ChamonixMy Profile

  2. Name *
    January 31, 2012

    I like your Mom. She sounds like my kind of person. I’m sorry we never met. (I mean – I’ve never ‘met’ you either. But you and I might meet. We have ‘meeting potential’, as we could both go to the same blog conference or something. Your Mom, not so much.) Anyway, I love your way of honoring her memory.

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2012

      thanks…twice a year.

  3. Mara
    January 31, 2012

    Your mom sounds like she was awesome. What a treasure that letter is.

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2012

      yeah, i agree…i made copies for all my kids

  4. Lori
    January 31, 2012

    That was beautiful.

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2012

      thanks

  5. By Word of Mouth Musings
    January 31, 2012

    I read this last year when you posted it … and now reading it again … and knowing you as I do …
    I wish she had seen you write this blog, share your words, stand up for what you believe in all.of.the.time …
    She would be proud!
    By Word of Mouth Musings recently posted..Monday Muse – Tracy Jensen MayMy Profile

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2012

      thanks nicole…thats sweet of you to say

  6. Julie
    January 31, 2012

    Grace under pressure ~ a Hemmingway hero.
    Beautiful letter.

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2012

      why thank you julie

  7. Susan R.
    January 31, 2012

    Lynn – I remember this beautiful letter…so very nice to read again! I still hold sweet memories of your parents!!

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2012

      thanks so much susan

  8. Pamela D Hart
    January 31, 2012

    “…it’s better to have ideas and express them than to remain on the periphery of life or a discussion.”

    THAT should be etched in the forefront of everyone’s mind.

    The entire letter is truly amazing.

    I can see why you miss your mom, Lynn.
    Pamela D Hart recently posted..Meet Me On Monday~ Why I Like WinterMy Profile

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2012

      Thanks Pam…I can’t believe how long it’s been

  9. Annie
    January 31, 2012

    This is my first opportunity to read your mom’s words. She sounds like a beautiful soul. So wise and wonderful. No wonder you like to speak your mind! Thanks for preempting your other post and honoring her today.

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2012

      Thanks for reading it…I mean she was haunting me so what could I do???

  10. flobits
    January 31, 2012

    Touchy…
    On the other hand, to celebrate life, yesterday my son turned one :)
    In the end, it’s a cycle and we’re part of it.
    flobits recently posted..The Cut of The LockMy Profile

    • Lynn
      January 31, 2012

      one…i can’t even remember having kids that young

  11. kelley
    February 1, 2012

    You are lucky to have that letter. I wish I had something like that from my mom.

    • Lynn
      February 1, 2012

      I know..I guess it was good she knew she was dying

  12. Ruth Sperling
    February 1, 2012

    Hi Lynn,
    I love that photo of your mom – so beautiful. I have one of my mom (Helen) looking just as lovely in her one piece. I have had dreams of my mom where I hear her voice. Its her real voice, and I can’t pull resurrect it in consciousness. Your mom was a straight talker and I loved that about her. Ruth

    • Lynn
      February 1, 2012

      thanks Ruth…i really appreciate the comment. Hope you’re well

  13. Becca
    February 2, 2012

    So touchy and it is very inspiring that everyone commented here leaves a heartfelt appreciation.

    • Lynn
      February 2, 2012

      Yeah…for the most part I have great commenters

  14. Rex25
    February 3, 2012

    You have a very inspiring thoughts here, thanks for making these kind.
    Rex25 recently posted..Oven repairs MelbourneMy Profile

    • Lynn
      February 3, 2012

      can’t say they’re mine…my mom wrote the letter

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