My father always was waiting for my mother. Even if he told her that they had to leave for somewhere at a certain time, and adjusted it for “Inge Time”, she always kept him waiting. Even in death, he got to wherever one goes, nine years ahead of her. She finally joined him in 2008, on May 29th. That’s when my sister and I became orphans. However long you have your parents around, when they die, you become orphans. In the years since she died, I thought about all the changes that happened in the world that would have interested her and angered her. I thought of moments when I truly have felt that there were events in the world that I was grateful she was not around to see. There are other moments that I wished she was here to enjoy and discuss.
The fall of 2008 the world went through the worst financial crisis since the Depression. As a woman who worked in the business world she would have been angry at whoever was “minding the store”. She would have been amazed that Barack Obama was elected president twice and that during his tenure, Osama bin Laden was killed by our military. She would have spouted that it was good that the SOB had been found and killed. She liked when bad people got their due. She would have cheered for “Sully” Sullenberger for saving the plane and landing in the Hudson River. She avoided “swine flu” and “Ebola”. She would have worried about all the hurricanes but especially about Hurricane Sandy hitting NYC so hard. She would been concerned that Michael Jackson passed away “so young” as she liked his music. She might have been amazed at our landing a rover on Mars, since the Moon landing in 1969 was something we were allowed to stay up late to watch on a neighbor’s television. Neil Armstrong died after she did .
She would have been worried about the Boston Marathon bombing because it took place in Massachusetts where her children live and would have lamented the number of terrorist acts that occurred on US soil. As an immigrant, she would have been so angry at the feelings against Muslims because as a Jewish woman, she had known hate and felt its effect. She would have been irate with Brian Williams re-writing his own history. She often said that his eyes were too close together and that you couldn’t trust someone who looked like that. She would have been pleased that Prince William found a bride as she worried about the young princes without their mother. That President Obama opened relations with Cuba might have provoked feelings in both directions, suspicion as well as curiosity. Robin Williams death would have saddened her as she liked “Mork from Ork”.
Inge would have taken much joy in knowing that she had great-grandchildren and that my FHB and I were grandparents twice over. She would have kvelled at her grandson’s wedding and enjoyed meeting her grand-daughter in law. Knowing that one of her grandsons had made it to Yale in the Nurse Practitioner program , and another one finished up his PhD at Harvard would have made her so proud, and everyone she knew would have known. She would have felt much peace in knowing her youngest grandson was safe and living in a idyllic setting in the Berkshires, not far from Tanglewood and was very happy.
Time accelerates at a pace that I never imagined. Nine years seems like a moment. Current events become history. Inge’s death was a piece of her living, not her life. She’s still the topic most every day and remembered with stories of motherhood, friendship, life partner for my father, as well as someone whose life was part of the context of my life. She challenged, she gave, she baked and she is missed.