Missing My Mom

15 Dec

My mother was a weather witch. Whenever she came to visit, the weather would go berserk.  Often my neighbors would call to find out exactly when Mom would arrive, to plan for snow.  


So it was not surprising that my Mom died during one of the worst snow storms ever in New York City, over 27 inches of snow in less than 24 hours.  Everything shut down.  The day of her funeral, her coffin was placed in front of a window.  As my niece stated,  “ I know Grandma is in heaven,”  a great, giant, massive clump of snow fell off the roof and on the ground outside the window.  Lovely torrents of snow arched upward.  Mom was there … heading to heaven.

My mother had the mind of a vault.  Any information that went in stayed there.  She remembered everything.  So when Mom suffered her first TIAs, mini strokes, we were very concerned.  My sister and Dad took her to a neurologist.  Mom scored a 100 percent on the test.  The doctor said something like,  “I believe you when you tell me that your Mom’s memory is not as good, but if this is bad, your Mom was very high functioning.”

And that is true. 

My mother was the glue that held people together.   She taught school for 30 years.  And the group of teachers who retired would often get together.  My Mom would make the plans.  After she died, the meetings basically ended.   One of the group, Pat, told me,  “It was your Mom who would call us all and tell us when we were meeting and where.  Without her, we just don’t have anyone organizing.”

It is true, all my organizing skills come from my Mom.

My mother was the kindest person.   Another teacher told this story at a memorial for my mother:  “The first day I taught at the school, I was worried.  Where would I sit during lunch?  Would the other teachers welcome me?  I was black and Cuban.  I don’t know why I worried.  I entered the lunchroom, and it became quiet.  Frances turned around,  “Oh there you are.  I have saved a seat for you next to me.”  And I sat there that day, and the next day and the next day.  And I realized I did not have to worry where I was going to sit.  I was going to sit with Frances and her friends for the rest of the years I taught.”

And she did sit with them for over 20 years.


My mother was a great friend.  Her two best friends, Wini, who she knew since kindergarten, and Judy, who she met in 8th grade, are still alive.  It is difficult sometimes to think of them without thinking of my mother.  They shared so many memories and adventures together.  After my Mom died, Wini and Judy were there for my Dad during the nine months he lived.  They still call me to keep in touch and to send love to my brother and sister.  Their love for my mom continues.  She was also a great friend to mine and my siblings’ friends.  She opened her home to them, always making them welcome.

She was a warm and loving hostess.

My mother was an excellent teacher.  Two stories.  Many years ago, when my grandfather was ill and staying with my parents, a young immigrant named Selma came to stay with Papa, while Mom and Dad went to work.  My mother gave Selma homework every day.   Not cleaning or cooking, rather her work was  learning to read and write English.  And when my mom got home from school, she would work with Selma on her studies.  Second story.  Several weeks before she died, I had to take my Mom to the emergency room.  An intern came over.  This young doctor said, “Mrs. Rosenberg. Oh my, you were my fourth grade teacher!  You were the best teacher ever.  When I found out I was going to have you, I was so afraid, because you were so strict.  But you were the best.  I am a doctor today, because you encouraged me.”

And it was true.  My Mom touched the lives of hundreds of children.

My mother was the best grandmother.  Every one of her grandchildren can tell you stories about staying with her and learning from her.  She made each child feel loved.   As my father said, for both of them, they did not divide their hearts of love with each child or grandchild, their hearts got larger. 

They both had very strong and large hearts filled with love.


My mother had a wonderful sense of humor.  Mom loved people and spread joy quietly wherever she went.  She had a wonderful way to make people feel comfortable and an easy way to laugh.  A story, after my Mom’s TIAs she lost the ability to sequence things.  So cooking, cleaning and laundry became difficult.  One day she asked me.  “Ellen, Dad says my memory is not as good.  What do you think? “   I answered:  “Well Mom, do you cook anymore, or does Liz (their helper) cook?  Do you do laundry anymore or does Liz do the laundry?  Do you clean any more or does the service clean?  My Mom got very quiet and then said,  “Well you know Ellen, I never liked doing any of those things anyway!:  

And that is true.  Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry were not high on my mother’s to do list.   Teaching, visiting, talking, loving were her charms.

December 27, 2010, my Mom left us on Earth forever. But she is forever in my heart and the hearts of all her children, grandchildren and the many people she loved.

14 Responses to “Missing My Mom”

  1. Diane Freedman December 15, 2013 at 3:08 am #

    A beautiful portrait of your mom! Very touching.

    • zicharon December 15, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

      Thank you! She was the best!

  2. Joohi chaudry December 15, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    So heartwarming and touching memories of your Mom,she sounds like a beautiful person.Loved reading this

    • zicharon December 15, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

      She really was a warm and loving person to all!

  3. FELICIA Weiner January 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

    Ellen, what a legacy she left and what a joy it was to read about her. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Sherry May 8, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    Beautiful, teacher, smart, lovely. Thank you!!

  5. alison heisler December 27, 2017 at 7:48 pm #

    Wow! Great article! I would have loved to have met your mom!

    • zicharon December 27, 2017 at 7:49 pm #

      Thank you. She was to me a special person.

  6. Amy December 28, 2021 at 7:38 am #

    For some reason I never received the email notification for this beautiful tribute to your mother, but only saw it through your Facebook posting. Glad I caught it!

    • zicharon December 28, 2021 at 7:52 am #

      This is actually one of the first ones I wrote. But I decided to repost it as I was really missing my mom this past weekend.

      • Amy December 31, 2021 at 11:19 am #

        Ah, ok, that makes sense. I guess we only get notifications of new posts. Hugs to you.

      • zicharon December 31, 2021 at 1:33 pm #

        Thanks. Have a great new year. I am hoping for better days!!

    • zicharon December 28, 2021 at 7:53 am #

      Thank you!

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