Echoes of Elul, Day 26: Memories of My Mom and Her Invaluable Life Lessons

Barry Levinson

How to describe my mom? She was a giving, caring mom who throughout my life was always there for me.

My mom’s early years were filled with much hardship. Her mom and dad divorced during the depression. She was about 15 at the time. Much of the responsibly of raising her younger sister fell on her shoulders.

My mom was reserved, not the typical stereotype of a Jewish mother. I always thought her parents divorce, (not at all common in those days) had a profound impact on her.

But as I look back at my mom’s life, the one trait that I cherish more than all the others about my mom is that she was truly an extremely kind woman!

An example of her kindness and the very sweet way she thought about others can be best displayed by telling you a short story about her.

We were driving in the family car, dad, mom and my sister and me. My father’s older sister had joined Weight Watchers a year earlier and had lost quite a bit of weight. The topic of my aunt’s weight loss came up in conversation and this is what my mom had to say about it. “I just thought she was big boned but now that she only weighs 112 lbs, well, I guess she was just fat.”

Even when visiting her when she was dying with Stage IV brain cancer over many months, her first question was always how I was doing. She wanted to talk about me not her, not her illness and not her suffering.

And when I think about my mom and I think about her often, the very first things that comes to mind was her goodness, her selflessness, her generosity, how she did not speak ill of anyone and was always kind to all.

As I look back at my upbringing, I realize I had the privilege and the extreme good fortune having two loving parents in my home guiding me and always looking out for me.

Finally, when I think of my mom one word resonates more than any other, kindness. It is a legacy she left me and in a very troubled and sometimes very difficult world, I cherish that legacy now more than ever.

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