Of all days to pass away, my mother chose Mother’s Day! Actually, I know she really didn’t choose it at all. As a matter of fact, she resisted it with all her ninety-three year-old strength. But her will and determination were overcome by old age and dementia.
She used that same will and determination to survive three concentration camps during the Holocaust, and eventually come to a new country with a two year old daughter and no family to help her. As a child, I had a hard time understanding this woman who kept secrets inside of her for a lifetime and often exhibited eccentric behavior. But as an adult, I grew to uncover some of her secrets, and honor and revere her for her remarkable strength of character. It was our trip back to my mother’s Hungarian homeland that sparked my awakening to her unique power to manage obstacles in her way. True to form, we wore our homemade outfits throughout our trip.
It seems right that Yom HaShoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Mother’s Day are so close together on the Gregorian calendar this year. Both days symbolize sacrifice, courage, loyalty, protectiveness, and, when needed, defiance.
You know, it would be just like her to plan her death that way so I would always remember her on Mother’s Day, and reflect on the lessons she taught me about resilience, pride, and most of all, standing up straight.