“Try to enjoy life as best as you can. You never know when your last day is there. Just look outside, look at the sun, look at the flowers, life is beautiful. You have one life to live, and the best things they come in everyone’s life, but just enjoy life and appreciate the good things, not only the material things.”
These were the words of my mother, Sipora Rodrigue-Lopes Groen, in an interview I recorded with her on April 24, 2012. 3 years ago today on the Jewish calendar, she passed away at the age of 95. I’ve written a lot about my mother’s life and her experiences, but in this piece I will let you reference the beautiful piece recently recently written by my niece Jennifer about my mother’s life. A Grandmother’s Lesson.
In this piece, in light of current events, besides the message written above, I am going to share with you what I believe my mother would have wanted people to know as we go through such an unprecedented time.
Although my mother had some very strong political opinions, I am fairly certain she would have been more focused today on telling people to make an effort to be nice to each other, to show a mutual respect. I think she would have encouraged us all to show more love to the people closest to us, and have understanding for people, especially our friends and family, when they do things that are less than perfect. She put a premium on things like love and kindness, backing it up better than anyone ever could, and I am as certain as I can be that she would have been pushing that point to anyone who would listen during our current crisis.
Although compassionate, she was also one not to exaggerate, and therefore would have hoped people, after they took the illness and consequences seriously, would have behaved wisely, responsibly, and used their heads to form opinions, rather than letting those opinions be formed for them. She had a strong will that would on occasion cross over to stubbornness, but it was that strength of character that saw her through the toughest times and I believe played a big role in her enjoying life to the end.
She would have shared the lessons of what she went through, not to minimize the suffering of those who are victims of, or close to people who have suffered today, but to make a point to the majority who sit at home, waiting for life to get back to normal, thinking it is the end of the world. She would likely have said, that for a large percentage of us, what we have seen till now is really not that bad, and that we need to be strong in order for things to get better.
My mother was a woman of character, intelligence, kindness and love. Even in her old age, rather than needing our help, if she were around today, she most likely would be looking for people to comfort with words of hope and encouragement. And all of us that knew her, will always miss her.
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IN CONJUNCTION WITH GLOBAL COALITION FOR ISRAEL