As the Jewish year of mourning for the passing of my mother officially ends, it is time for me to turn a page. I will always love my mother, miss her, and remember her who she was and what she gave me. However, it is now time for me to no longer continuously share those feelings openly. During the past year, whether it was my profile picture on Facebook or the majority of my articles and posts, much of what I put out there was about my mother. Not only do I not apologize for that, I am glad that I did. For me, and I emphasize the words “for me”, it was the right way to give her the honor she so rightly deserved. But now it is time to move on. Time to make those feelings more personal and to honor and remember her with less display and discussion. So I finish this year of what in Hebrew is called Avelut, by asking you to indulge me one last time, and read this letter to my mother, that, whether she is able to see it or not, best conveys my feelings.
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This will not be a long letter. I have said most of what any grateful son would ever say to his mother and have done so on numerous occasions. What I wish to do in this letter is to end this year of mourning by telling you what I now know to be the greatest gift you’ve given me.
There are things many people have heard me say many times to describe how wonderful you were as a mother and a person. Your strength in dealing with the toughest circumstances imaginable, your devotion to your family, your love of life, and your positive approach are all accolades many people who knew you speak of. And rightly so. But the other day I was speaking with a friend and something they said to me made me realize what was truly the best gift you were able to give to me. That gift was faith in humanity.
Compared to many my life has been easy. I have known very little pain and suffering and my personal losses came much later in life than they have for so many people I personally know or am close to. However, as a thinker who observes the world, it is still relatively easy to be disillusioned by where the world is and where it is going. You often saw the future of the world through concerned eyes and feared the rise of evil such as the evil you saw in your early years. And yet, on a daily basis, whether it was in your bank, the supermarket, your synagogue, or dealing with friends or family, you found the good, not so much to satisfy yourself philosophically, but merely to bring joy to your life. You often saw the good in people most people had given up on, and you found a different way to appreciate and enjoy everyone who was at least somewhat open to it. Most of all you believed in love. You believed in it so strongly that your belief transferred over to anyone whose heart was open to it.
So as I complete not just the official year of mourning, but the sharing of my feelings regarding you and your passing, I say thank you for showing me the value of patience and love, and in teaching me how to have faith in humanity, even when it is most difficult. That faith and belief in people and in love was such a large part of what drove you till the end of your life, and I thank you for showing me how that was possible, and hope to use that knowledge to share love and happiness with others for as long as I live.
With love always,
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