11 years ago today my mom died. It was her second bout with cancer, after having been in remission. I'm taking the day off to cook the foods of my childhood and fill the house with the smells I so deeply miss. More than anything, it is food that reminds me of my mom. Probably because food was something that marked everything in the life of my family, from "ordinary" daily meals to weekly Sunday extravaganzas, to special occasions, from weddings to funerals. We used to joke: "I'm happy - let's eat!" "I'm sad - let's eat!"
We are, above all, about creating family. So this morning I raise my glass to family in all its diverse and wonderful forms, to everyone who hopes for a family of their own one day, to all those committed to helping make those hopes a reality, and on this most sacred day for me, to my mom. What follows is a summary of the words I spoke at her funeral 11 years ago. May she forever rest in peace.
Lillian had a passion for life, a love of good food and music, and above all, a love of community. The most significant community in her life was her family, and her most cherished moments were when we were all together. Friends who joined us for dinner said that they always felt like family in Lillian's presence. Perhaps that was because she understood how much people needed to be a part of something greater than themselves.
Lillian's life was a continual prayer of thanksgiving, acknowledging the ongoing blessings of God that she enjoyed. She was a contribution to everyone she met, never once feeling sorry for herself, even in dealing with cancer for 18 years. We were privileged to have shared our lives with her. So, to Lillian, for whom work was love, and whose work was always connected to The Great Work of the Universe; to Lillian, whose work began on February 23rd, 1930, and whose work was complete on February 5th 1999 at 6:45 p.m. - Thank you, Mom. We love you."