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Posts Tagged ‘Memorial Tree’

As soon as I ended the call with my son, I wanted to call Great Grandma Ada. The Rocker and Aunt KiKi are buying their first home in LA, a glorious mid-century with a view of the valley. No longer will the newlyweds have to work at opposite corners in their living room. The young child who always heard music in his head, has put down roots in the film industry. But in even better news, they had just received their second Moderna shot!

In two weeks they will be fully vaccinated…

I was filled with joy! My instinct was to immediately call Ada. I loved giving her good news about her grandchildren. She would “kvelle” (which means feeling happy and proud in Yiddish), she would say “poo poo poo” (which translates to not letting the evil spirits hear your good fortune). And best of all, her unbridled delight was contagious – she multiplied happiness for everyone within her circle.

And in a way, I did call her yesterday. I made small sandwiches to honor the Fifties Housewife she once was, I picked pink peonies for a gorgeous arrangement because she loved painting flowers, and I wrote about her devotion to knowledge and her career as a Marriage and Family Therapist.

With three of our Nashville friends, we memorialized our loved ones at the Cypress Tree Grove we’d planted in our local park. In 2020, Ellen lost her father, Yoko lost her mother and Rick lost his sister. With our neighbors and friends, AND with everyone vaccinated and mask-free on a sunny, balmy 78 degree Sunday, we listened to Finlandia, by composer Jean Sibelius, and spoke about our collective losses. Here is a snippet about Ada and me:

Years later, when she bumped into me again, she insisted I come back to her home to reconnect with her son, Bob. We married under a canopy of trees in that same office parking lot (outside of her home/office).  She swore she would always take my side, and she kept her promise. A woman of valor, one who was always giving and kind, we were lucky to have her for 96 years.

Yes, if Ada didn’t drag me into her son’s room at the hospital after our chance meeting in an elevator, would I even be here in Nashville? Serendipitous events always seemed to follow Ada; she may have been “Older than the Queen” but her insatiable spirit will never die. I see it in the Bride as she tends to her family and her career with finesse. I see it in the Rocker, who can make twelve notes of music into spine-tingling compositions with alacrity. And her Great Grands love learning, just as she did.

We chose the Bald Cypress because it’s native to TN: it’s adaptive to dry and wet conditions and can withstand flooding; it will develop “knees” with its roots jutting out of the soil; and it’s the only conifer that sheds its needles, ie “bald”. So it’s unique!

But not as unique as our Adala. Bob was a teenager when she went back to graduate school in the 1960s, and she always left dinner for the boys during the week, even though many of her nights were filled with school and clients. “Misery is optional” was one of her favorite quotes. My wedding present from Ada was a gravesite in their family plot – I wasn’t sure how to respond, but remembered a rabbi telling me that we never really grow up until we have our own gravesite.

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s taught us to double down on the fragility of life. We are all molecules of star dust, and we were damn lucky to be in Ada’s orbit for so many years.

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