Your mother and her daughter

From Henry Walker.
She was a very gentle, intelligent, and civilized woman.
And very quiet and private.
Like many other people, I wish she had spoken with me more often.
I’m very glad that you were able to present her with a grand-daughter as a going-away present.
You were her greatest achievement, and I’m sure that it must have given her great pride and joy to know that you were almost capable of producing such a daughter.
My younger brother died of cancer two years ago, and the humiliation of the disease is almost worse than death itself.
You have been through a horrible time, and I hope that your daughter will be as great a comfort to you, as you were to your mother.
A long time ago, we were eating at a Thai restaurant in Waterville before travelling overseas.
You were working there at the time, and as we left you said:
“Geh gesund und komm gesund.”
When Adele Carey visited us on Sunday and told us that your mother’s life was drawing to an end, your words came back to me.
There is no good way of leaving this life, and as a mother you would probably say that the arrival isn’t too much fun either.
In English we think of departure alone, “Goodbye,” “Farewell,” but your Yiddish words remind us that life is about departures and arrivals.
And being full of life, you now stand between them.
Your mother’s personality will live on beautifully in her daughter and in yours,
and clumsily in those who did not have the privilege of being so close to her.

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