I’d like to start off by reminding everyone of what you all already know: My mother was obsessed with me. She always picked up my phone calls, even when teaching. She not only wanted to know what I ate, where I ate it, and who with, but anything I made for her, even a simple salad, was a gourmand experience. Rabbi Susan actually greeted me as “the legend” the other day.
My mother’s love for me was unshakable, never qualified, remorseless in many ways, resolute, all encompassing, unconditional.
I’m going to miss that love, that safety, although in many ways I will always have it. In my memory, in my confidence as I make my way through the world, in how I care for and treat my loved ones. And especially in the way that my daughter and I love each other…I am angry that my mother was taken away from me too early – although Neil says I would have felt anytime was too soon – but grateful that she was able to be with Fen and see the kind of mother she inspired me to be.
And her devotion to me has always been inspiring. Her love’s greatest capacities were courage and selflessness. My mother has only felt the need to apologize to me three times in her life. When she woke up from surgery and I had to tell her that she had cancer. When we found out that chemotherapy had stopped working. And then when she found out that she only had weeks to live. The first words she said to me each time were, “I’m so sorry, honey.”
Even when facing her mortality, loss of independence, and a future with me, my mother tried to make this devastating experience, her illness, the loss of her life, easier for me.
I’m not sure I will ever have the strength or mettle to do the same for Fen, but, in my mother, I will have an endless ideal to look towards.