It has been just five short months since we last met in this room. It probably was the hardest five months that Mom had to experience.
At first we thought that she should live here with all of us. But we all underestimated Mom. She had been in precarious health since that devastating October in 1989 and had come to rely on Dad for reality checks. We assumed that it would be best for her to be near her family. She thought otherwise and made extremely persuasive arguments for returning to the familiar surroundings of North Park.
Initially, it seemed as if she was able to cope. As time went on it became more difficult for her to deal with all the feelings of sympathy and loss that people expressed to her. She began to turn inward into her own world, the world she had shared for 69 years with Dad.
We all began to realize that she no longer wanted to live in this painful present world. She wanted to return to a happier time when she could be with Nat again.
Selma, our mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, was what my father called a beryeh. Coming from my father who did not hand out compliments loosely this was an exalted status. There was no celebration too large that Mom couldn't fit a few more in for dinner. If someone in the extended community of family or friends was ill and it looked like there was no one willing or competent to see to the details of treatment and care, it was Selma who took over.
She was the one to turn to when crises arose. She was always available. In good times and bad Mom was there. She was the peacemaker in her group of family and friends. She tried to find a common ground to bring people together. Even if some in the group did not speak to each other, they all spoke to Selma.
She was an excellent cook and baker. She taught me what I know about cooking. I think it was Jeffrey who at 3 or so said, "Grandma, you are a good cooker." We are still using her recipes. (When we cook!)
Nothing was too much for her to undertake. She was the ultimate baby-sitter. It didn't matter that Laurie was five months old, sure Joel and I could go skiing in Canada for a week. No problem. She even had the courage to have Laurie, Wendy, Melissa and Jeffrey together for a week or so in Florida. That's a good grandma.
She was such a good sport. She took a lot of kidding and teasing from her children and grandchildren but she enjoyed it because it always came with love and respect.
Mom and Dad instilled in their children a sense of values. Respect for the value of an individual, responsibility for the effects of our society on others, loving responsibility for the welfare of family members-these are the values that we their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren have as our legacy.
What I am trying to draw for you is a picture of a calm, strong, loving and much loved warm, giving and honorable person. Even at the end, her concern was for her grandchildren and their well being.
An efficient and competent housewife, that is the definition of beryeh, which I found on the Internet. Yes, that she was but she was much more than that. If you read Proverbs 31 numbers 10-31 you will see Selma. "What a rare find is a capable wife! Her worth is far beyond that of rubies."
Her worth is certainly far beyond that of rubies. She is priceless. And she is all of us.
They're dancing in heaven together again.
Bryan Levine (Great Grandson - Age 7)
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Copyright © 1998 by Dorothy Becker and Richard L. Becker