My step-mother passed away last week, on Mother's Day. She and my father were together 23 years, having met on the same day that my son was born. These are the words I read at her shiva minyan.
Karen, you stepped into my life in 1994 as a life partner for my dad, an instant grandmother for my newborn son, and a combination mentor/friend/relative to me. Over the course of several years, you became my second mother, with all the love, respect and minor meddling that role entails.
When I named my son Lucas “Lev,” the Hebrew word for heart, I wanted him to carry my first mother’s generous nature in his heart. Little did I know at the time that he would see in you a living example of that ideal on an ongoing basis.
When I flew from Austin to the east coast for the funeral, I wanted to wear either jewelry or clothing that you’d given me. I opened my closet to discover that I could very nearly choose at random. Thank you, and not just for the jewelry and blouses.
I happen to know that you believe in souls. You once felt my first mother’s presence smiling on you as you pushed toddler Lucas on a playground swing. I will greatly miss you. I already do. But I am sure that I will continue to gently feel your presence as my own life and family evolve.
Karen, you inspired me as a teacher, a mom, and (hopefully) someday a grandmother. You were everything to Dad. And to us. If you were here now, you’d tell us all to keep our chins out of our soup.