Late in the afternoon last Friday, December 9, 2011, my mother passed away in her sleep. My father was by her side, and it was peaceful.
The funeral was held this past Tuesday at Riverside Memorial Chapel in NYC. Rabbi Joe Potasnik officiated. My mother was a longtime fan of Joe and of his show on WABC Radio, "Religion On The Line." Joe also officiated at the naming of both of my children; he and know I each other for over 30 years.
Joe spoke of the incredible supportive and loving relationship my parents enjoyed, a 66 year long marriage. He also spoke of how when my father discussed my mother, he would always characterize her as, "the best." The best wife, the best Guidance Counselor, the best Chairperson, the best Supervisor in the NY State School System.
We sat Shiva at my father's apartment through yesterday.
My mother was a woman of significant accomplishment. She was also the most educated ("degreed") member of our family. Before women in the work place was the norm, or the phrase "Working Moms" had come into the vernacular, my mother was in the work force. My cousin Deborah, speaking at the funeral, noted that yes, some women went to work, but my mother was a woman with a career, not something one heard of often back in the early 1960s.
My cousin Elaine was unable to attend, but she sent words of loving memory and appreciation. Rabbi Potasnik read them at the funeral:
I am truly at a loss at how to begin to express how sad I am to lose the loving relationship I have shared with my Aunt Bobbie for so many years.
My aunt was such a special person in my life, always there to make me feel wonderful about myself. At times when I would question myself after going through life’s traumas, as we all do, she would always make me feel like a million dollars.
I looked so forward to her visits to Florida every year and being able to spend some real time with her – I used to be amazed at how dazzling she would look all the time and I’m sure she has brought that with her even now in Heaven.
We had a very special bond with each other and the time spent with her here or on the phone are moments that I will never forget and will truly miss. When I met my husband, Barry eight years ago, she rearranged her bridge night plans so we could meet Aunt Bobbie and Uncle George at a restaurant and they so charmingly welcomed him to the family. He too is very fortunate to have known Aunt Bobbie. We are very sorry we are not there today.
We love you dearly, Aunt Bobbie, and hope you are at peace.
All our hugs & kisses, Elaine & Barry
I delivered the eulogy, a copy of which follows as an attachment to this post, below.