Tag Archives: rest in peace

Rest in peace my beautiful mother

Here we are a week away from the one year anniversary of my mother’s death as I start this blog post.  I haven’t done anything to create the post all year that I intended to do long before now. I remember that last year at this time we were on “death watch”. Mom had a catastrophic fall the day before Thanksgiving from which she did not recover. She died December 15, 2017. What follows is what I read at the memorial that we had for her near my sister’s house in northern Virginia. I’m also including the recap of her life that we included in the program for her memorial. And finally, some photos from her life as well as a link to the slide show that my brother-in-law created and played at her memorial.

Most people know that I’m a carbon copy of my mother. I look and sound just like her. So, I wanted to share some of those stories as well as others from my mother’s life. When I was growing up Mom’s friend Jean Fagan would call periodically. And every time that I answered she would always say “Hi Goldie, how are you?” And I would inevitably say “Hi Jean. It’s Toby.” And Jean would always say “Oh!! You sound just like your mother!” You don’t say!! Every time I would visit my Aunt Lilah and Uncle Roy, Aunt Lilah would always tell me how much I looked like my mother. One time I visited close to my birthday and Aunt Lilah wanted to buy me a birthday gift and asked what I needed.  I happened to need white shoes so she took me shopping. As I tried on the first pair and started walking around Aunt Lilah said “you even walk like your mother!!” That was one I had never heard before.

My favorite look-alike story happened at my cousin Lou’s wedding in Phoenix years ago. Most of the out-of-towners stayed at the same motel. I knew that my Uncle Roy had one brother but I don’t believe I had ever met him before. If I did, I was young and didn’t remember him. As I was walking along a corridor at the motel a man who resembled Uncle Roy was walking towards me. So I said “you must be Roy’s brother.” And without missing a beat he said “and you must be Goldie’s daughter.” Such fun memories.

There were certain things that got Mom to laugh. One of those was that whenever I visited Mom I would say upon seeing her and giving her a hug “are you my mother?” That was one of my favorite books by Dr. Seuss when I was little. There is one instance of this that really stands out and it’s from the last couple of years. I was visiting Mom at my sister Nina’s house and when I said “are you my mother?” her face lit up and she exclaimed “you always used to say that didn’t you??” That just warmed my heart to know that she remembered that until the end.

Another story is one that my sister just loves to hear. Ha ha! When Nina and I were teenagers Mom took us to Hawaii for vacation. I don’t remember much from that trip but this story is one that has stuck because I could always get a laugh out of Mom. Whenever the three of us were together I would always find a way to work this in at some point. We were heading out one day on that Hawaiian trip and Mom and I were at the elevator in the hotel waiting for Nina. But Nina was not right behind us like we thought. So I called down the hall “Nina, the elevator’s here!!” to try and get her to emerge from the hotel room. Well, that phrase came up many times over the years whenever Nina was dawdling and I would say “Nina, the elevator’s here!!” and Mom would always giggle. Mom and I were always on time. Nina? Not so much.

Lastly I wanted to share that my mother was one of my best friends. We shared so many of the same values and opinions and talked on the phone a lot. We both loved to laugh and I remember watching the series Soap with her and giggling. She visited me the year The Princess Bride was out and we went to see it. We spent most of the time laughing. We loved watching Dodger games and figure skating too. And she was somewhat prescient, or she was good at just plain guessing. When we chatted after Barack Obama gave his speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention she blurted out “That man’s going to be president some day!!” Okay, probably many people said that. But I remember being struck by that comment, especially when it came to pass. When I was in my mid 20s and wondering if I was going to get married she said “You will. And it’s going to be someone you already know.” Even that came to pass. My husband and I actually met in the early 80s but didn’t get together until 1988. When I struggled to get pregnant and cried on the phone to her over nearly three years she was always comforting and reassured me that it would happen. And of course she was right.

When her dementia got worse and I could no longer talk to her like I used to, I felt like I lost my best friend. She was still here physically but we could no longer hold a conversation. I have one last memory of the last time I saw her. My daughter and I visited over Labor Day weekend last year. We were all going to go to church that Sunday but I woke up with a headache and decided to skip church and rest. I sat in the living room with Mom and at one point she looked over at me and just stared. I waved and said “Hi Mom!!” and she smiled and said hi. I’ll never forget the look on her face as she stared at me. Did she not remember me? Or was she wondering why I was there since I wasn’t part of her daily routine? I’ll never know but I’m glad I had those moments with her.

I’m so grateful that I had her for as long as I did. I will never forget her love for her entire family, her compassion for her fellow human being and just her pleasant demeanor. She was the best mom a girl could have. Thank you Mom for your loving-kindness and compassion. I love you.

This was in the program for her memorial:

Goldie was born April 30, 1923 in Chicago, Illinois, the daughter of Samuel and Pearl Leiderman. She married Israel (Izzy) Nadler on July 24, 1945 in the First Romanian Congregation synagogue in Chicago by Rabbi Tevele Cohen while Izzy was on a 34-day furlough from the U.S. Army. They had three children, Joel in 1947, Nina in 1958, and Toby in 1960. The family moved to southern California in 1969 but two years later Izzy died.

Goldie married Gilbert Katz in 1976 and in 1986 they retired to southern Florida. Goldie became involved in singing groups and played bridge and mah jong regularly. She and 10 of her singing group friends won the Florida lottery in 2010 and she was able to live without financial stress until she moved in with Nina and her family in March 2015.

Nina was Goldie’s primary caregiver until she died in 2017. Goldie had 3 children, 6 grandchildren and one great granddaughter. Goldie lived a long, full and happy life during her 94 years. We are very grateful that we had her for as long as we did.

Click here to view the slide show from her memorial.

What follows is a photo tribute to my mother’s life starting with her on her wedding day in 1945.

A gallery of moments in her life:

I intended to create this post during the year since Mom died. Instead I put it together in the last week so that I could post it on the one year anniversary of her passing. Some of the photos in the gallery here are photos from pages of a scrapbook that I created for her 80th birthday.  That’s why you see some embellishments and photos in colorful frames. I tried to include as much from her life as possible without it being overwhelming. It’s a pretty good overall summary of her life in photos.

Rest in peace my darling mother.  I miss you.

In closing, here’s a poem I came across years ago:

Your mother is always with you…
She’s the whisper of the leaves as you walk down the street,
She’s the cool hand on your brow when you’re not well.
Your mother lives inside your laughter,
And she’s crystallized in every tear drop.
She’s the place you came from, your first home,
And she’s the map you follow with every step you take.
She’s your first love and your first heartache,
And nothing on earth can separate you,
No amount of time…and no amount of distance.

~ Author Unknown

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RIP Eddie – Best. Cat. Ever.

Eddie started life as we knew it in 2004 as M&M. The humane society gives names to all the cats and dogs available for adoption and so M&M was on the label of Eddie’s cage. I thought this was a strange name for a cat so he became Eddie to us after we brought him home. He was about 6-7 months old towards the end of 2004 and he was Miss M’s birthday present that year.

Eddie was such a docile and friendly sort. So much so, several neighbors really took a liking to him. He’d go to several houses in the neighborhood to visit all of his friends. One very amusing story happened just this past Christmas. It was another one of those bitter cold days that we get here in the frozen tundra of Minnesota but if the sun was shining, Eddie had to go outside. We thought that since it was so cold he’d be back soon. Hours went by and about 3:00 the doorbell rang. It was one of Eddie’s many friends in the neighborhood coming to deliver him back to us. She told us that he has a favorite spot in their house when the sun is shining. He had done this before where he’d disappear for hours and hours so now we felt better that he wasn’t stuck outside in the cold somewhere. He was being well taken care of down the street so we found out on Christmas day!

Eddie started losing weight just over two years ago. We had bloodwork done and our vet at the time suggested an ultrasound. The ultrasound was inconclusive but the bloodwork showed that his liver numbers were way out of whack. A biopsy of the liver was suggested but since Ed was already 12 at the time, I did not want to put him through any invasive tests. We gave him several different medications over the last two plus years but he continued to lose weight. We aren’t sure exactly what happened at the end. Either the liver issues finally got him or his heart gave out.

Throughout the last two plus years of tests and drugs Eddie kept his pleasant demeanor intact. He didn’t argue about the pills I had to shove down his throat carefully placed at the back of his throat so that he wouldn’t spit them out. He did argue about being brought to the vet but what cat doesn’t do that? He never acted sickly, he was just the same old Eddie he’d always been. He was just very thin.

We’ve always had two cats. When one would die, we’d go get another so there would always be two. But we are hoping to retire to southern Spain in about two years. The original plan was to take Fritz with us. We got Fritz as a kitten in 2010 shortly after our cat Clyde passed away. But poor little 6 year old Fritz met a horrible end to his life in 2016. We figured that Eddie probably wouldn’t be around in 2020 but we didn’t figure on Fritz dying so young :(

So, here we are catless for the first time since 1989 and it’s very odd. Miss M thinks we should get another cat, that the house needs a cat. She thinks that since we were planning on taking Fritz on our journey to Spain that we could take another cat. But honestly, the trip is going to be hard enough. I’m not sure I want to make it harder by taking a cat along. Someone in a diary of another blog that I follow suggested fostering. That does seem like a good option and I’m going to look into that, just not right now. Perhaps this summer or in the fall after Miss M starts college. I might need to nurse my empty nest syndrome by then. And a new cat, or cats, in the house might be just the thing.

Eddie made history by becoming our first pet to make it past 12 years of age. We didn’t know the exact date of his birth so we had picked March 1 to celebrate his birthday. And since he was just two weeks shy of being 14 on March 1 I decided that he was in fact 14 when he died last month.

Rest in peace old boy. You were the best cat ever. Thank you for nearly 14 years of fun.

Eddie boy, Fred Fred, Edward Bear, Edward, Ed E. Boy — some of the nicknames we gave him over the years.

I hope you will enjoy this gallery of my handsome cat Eddie.

 

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Rest in peace my brother

I’ve had a heck of a year!!  Two weeks after my adorable cat Fritz died I headed west to attend the wedding of my brother with his long-time companion (22 years!).  It was a fabulous weekend, the weather was perfect and everyone was so happy.  Then tragically my brother passed away on October 14th.  He learned that he had pancreatic cancer in March. He had surgery to remove the tumor and then he was supposed to start chemo. That kept getting postponed as he had one setback after another.  He was to start again the day after we all left northern California, 9/6.  I believe he had a mini-stroke and just went downhill after that.  My sister and I attended his memorial service the weekend before Thanksgiving.  We both talked about our brother and then asked if anyone else wanted to say a few words.  Our cousin from Chicago spoke about his early years with our brother. They were five months apart and spent their first eleven years together. Then Aunt Lilah, my father’s sister, told a few tales about him too.  It was a nice weekend and there were close to 70 people at his memorial and that was nice to see.

Below is what I spoke about my brother.  And below that are a few photos.

I’m Joel’s younger sister and we’re 13 years apart so we didn’t really know each other that well but he was always there for me and I can’t believe that he’s gone. I had a difficult time when David Bowie died, one, because it was such a shock and two, because, well, there was always David Bowie!! As far back as I can remember, there was always David Bowie so it really hurt to learn that Bowie was gone. And before Bowie, there was always my brother and now they’re both gone. They were the same age too. But I want to focus on the fact that Joel was always there for me, beginning with our father’s death when I was 11. I have a vivid memory of us at the funeral and Joel put his arm around me to comfort me. Then when our father’s dog needed to be put down I called my brother because that dog was the last tangible thing that I had of my father. And I just couldn’t bear to do that task so Joel did that for me. He was there when I bought my first car and he was there for my high school and college graduations. He was there at the airport when I left for a year of study in Spain. I’m not sure if he knew how much I appreciated him always being there but I did tell him how much I loved that he gave me away at my wedding. He was the perfect choice. And because of our age difference you can hear someone on my wedding video saying “that must be Mr. Nadler”. Well, they were right but I think they thought he was my father.

I’m still not quite over David Bowie’s death and I know it will take me a while to process that my brother is no longer here. But he lived a good life and got married to the love of his life just over two months ago. I was so happy and grateful to be able to attend the wedding to see him one last time. I know that he died happy and he was so loved. And really, that’s all any of us can hope for. Well done my dear brother. I love you and I miss you. Rest in peace.

While in northern California for my brother’s wedding we visited a vineyard. Look for a future post about that. Here’s a sneak preview and one from his wedding in September:

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