“We knew no time for sadness, that’s a road we each had crossed
We were living a time meant for us, and even when it would rain
we would laugh it off…”

                                                                                           D. Loggins

Mom died the first week in April, just before Passover. Indeed, the formal “shivah” was aborted by the First Seder. So be it. The lady’s lifelong insecurity convinced her she wasn’t ready for prime time. This was just more of the same.

Fast forward to this past week and the Jewish New Year. Moments after dropping Aunt Helen off after dinner I was struck by a discomforting reality….it hadn’t hit me until that very moment…. This was our first Rosh HaShana without our mother, but no one, including me, seemed to notice. It never came up.

I called my brother immediately. He did add some focus, citing her last years of illness and noting  that while she had been there our mother was not truly  “present.”

Still, I was saddened.

The irony of it is that I can quote lines, stories and wisdom from my Dad.
His life-lessons still resonate with me. And although he was vibrant, dynamic and clearly a Damon Runyon character, he had humility. He would care not if his absence had been overlooked at a holiday.

My Mom? If she were still alive, the failure to mention her name would have killed her!

So I’ve been thinking about her more the past week.

She died in April. What was her spiritual legacy…for me?

It had to be more than her steadfast refusal to bad-mouth my father in the divorce storms. Surely that taught me a lesson. But was there more?

It had to be more than unconditional love. That was a given.

And then I remembered an event that goes back to 1964. The immediate post-divorce days were tough on me. My dad was out-of-town, money was short, and, of course, I was hell-bent on defending his honor…even when it wasn’t challenged. (While my mother said little, her whole fam damily would endlessly criticize him in my presence. It was a rough place to be for a fifteen-year old. For example, when my Aunt Ruth lost her husband, she exclaimed “Better it should have been Al Bogart”). Hard to hear that!

One day a kid from the Hebrew School carpool teased me:

“At least my parents live together.”

(Remember, this was in the days before divorce was fashionable).

Sharing these bruises with my mother was a natural. She eased the pain with her laughter. In retrospect, she could have learned from her own words.

My mother went from the country’s Great Depression to a rotten marriage, to HER Great Depression. She was partially hearing disabled, partially self-supporting, and only partially happy. But she never lost her sense of humor. Indeed, even The Thief couldn’t take that!

I’m opening a broad comedy next week at Fine Arts Association. My character, at varying times, self-diagnoses a heart attack, a stroke, and brain cancer. It’s a great role.

Last night they asked me to turn in a short bio for the program. And that’s when it all came together.

I wrote:

“…Bruce dedicates this show to his late mother who, although she raised hypochondria to an art form, taught him, most importantly, how to laugh…”

2 Responses to “PIECES OF APRIL”

  1. Aunt Helen says:

    I don’t think your comment about your mother’s alleged hypochondria was appropriate. Goodness, what do you say aboit me?

  2. Aunt Helen says:

    I don’t think your comment about your mother’s alleged hypochondria was appropriate. Goodness, what do you say about me?

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