With my mom on the evening I made aliya — 2 March 1983

As I’ve posted before, last October my mother passed away.  One minute I was worriedly calling her social worker, the next I was an orphan.

My father's picture from his Hungarian identity card, dated 1938

Hanging with my dad in Norway, 1970

I have now lost both my parents.  I really do hate that term, lost.  I didn’t lose them, they are always with me.  I constantly find my father in his sifrei kodesh (holy books), which I inherited, especially in his tikkun, which, as the ba’al koreh of his synagogue, he read from every day.  One Friday night not long ago, Ju-Boy was asking Biblical trivia at the supper table.  I disagreed with a certain interpretation and was able to prove my point by taking out my father’s book of Bereshit (Genesis) and show him the exact Rashi commentary that proved me right.  The father/daughter team was triumphant!

Dvirkeh, Baylkeh and Maishkeh (Dora, Baila and Yakov Moshe), Vilna, circa 1933. My mother, Dora, was the only one of her siblings to survive.

I find my mother in her kitchen utensils which I now proudly use regularly.  I use the same hochmesser and wooden bowl she used to chop onions (and liver).  I even cut my fingers in the same places she did.  I can imagine as I reflexively place my wounded finger in my mouth that my mother is kissing it all better.

The Courtship of Miriyummy's Parents -- Goteborg, Sweden, 1948

My parents' Coolness Moment -- Haifa, Israel, August 1983

In Judaism, when you “lose” a parent, you enter a one year mourning period.  There are many traditions one can adopt as to how to spend this year in both honoring and mourning your parent.  Some of the traditions I have adopted are:

  • I don’t go to the movies or attend concerts or other live performances
  • I keep a yahrzeit candle that lasts for seven days going all year long, lighting a new one each week on Friday as I light the Shabbat candles
  • I don’t attend any kind of celebration (I’m missing some good ones this year, including tonight’s wedding of the daughter of dear friends)
  • I am not cutting my hair for the entire year of mourning

People are usually surprised by that last one.  It’s a rare tradition, although not unheard of.  And it’s driving me crazy.  I feel I need to do this, just one way to honor my mother, who loved my long hair, loved to brush and braid it.  She would spend hours detangling my long, knotted hair after a bath.  While my mother would have thought I was insane to miss out on parties on her behalf, I know she would have appreciated the effort I’m making in not cutting my hair.

Long, glorious hair -- back then it was my mother's problem

I have been blessed with a head full of thick, wavy, unruly, very much a-mind-of-its-own hair.  It grows like a weed, it’s already halfway down my back.  Every day I try to coax it into some kind of order.  When I clean my brush I pull out more hair than most people have on their entire heads.  And it gets everywhere.  I try to clean out the drains before the family gets totally grossed out, but some a lot escapes, only to remind me later by completely clogging up the sink.

A solution my mother used to use for as long as I can remember…

Drain Cleaner and Declogger

  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup vinegar
    1. Pour baking soda into drain.
    2. Follow with vinegar.

    Photo courtesy of Marg (CaymanDesigns) of recipezaar.com

    About Miriyummy

    All I want to do is live happily ever after.

    Posted on 3 August 2010, in Aba, Family Life, Mom, Non-food and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

    1. Sigh. I love this post. I love it for the tradition and history you share. I love it for the tears it brought: missing my own parents; thinking I would have liked to listen for hours to the stories of yours; wishing all of the Baylkehs and Maishkehs could have made it to old age with their Dvirkehs…

      Lots more. Anyway — thank you for another beautiful post.


      • Okay, now you’ve made me cry, and I haven’t even had my coffee yet! Thanks, Ruti! Your posts have evoked so much emotion in me, especially your Impact post, I bawled for quite a while after that one, all over a tub of leben…


    2. Beautiful post of your parents.I lost both my parents when I was still quite young and this post made me think of them,,,


    3. What a beautiful and moving tribute to your parents a”h! And how cute is the picture of the two of them in Sweden in 1948?!

      Yehi zichram baruch.


    4. *dabbing at the eyes* you almost *always* pull at my heartstrings, but wowza! beautiful tribute. you’re amazing, you know that? and those old photos? seriously priceless! thanks so much for sharing them. i love learning more and more parts of your story!


    5. Lovely post Mirj. I love how you’re honoring your Mother but the hair one must truly be the most difficult. 🙂

      I don’t lose as much hair as you do to clog up the drains but when they’re clogged (as all drains do) I will try your Moms ‘recipe’.


    6. Beautiful tribute to your parents with moving photos.
      Interesting “recipe” at the end. Does it work well?


    7. Beautiful. Zichrona livracha. I hope your unruly but beautiful hair continues to bring you a measure of peace.


    8. What a wonderful tribute to both of your parents, complete with beautiful photos. I found your blog via Haveil Haveilim – I’ve added you to my blogroll.


    9. The love you have and the honour you show to your parents brought a lump to my throat – thanks so much for sharing this with us all


    1. Pingback: Haveil Havalim #279 — It’s Almost Elul Edition « Miriyummy

    2. Pingback: I Miss My Mom! « Miriyummy

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