Call your Mother

Yesterday, we concluded the shiva mourning period for our beloved mother Beile Nutovic who passed away last week at the age of 86.

So many thoughts go through the minds of children when they bury their parents; so many beautiful memories, so many things we wish we had done differently.

One area where I don’t have the slightest regret is staying in touch with her over the years. I called her every single day for the past 35 years, most days twice.

Truth be told, she made it very easy to stay in touch. Her upbeat personality, great sense of humor, and the resiliency that carried her through the very challenging parts of her life[1] made every phone call with her an enjoyable adventure.

When I was preparing my eulogy for her funeral last week, I asked our children for one-word descriptions of their grandmother. Along with wise, courageous, and irreplaceable, they used words like spunky and hilarious. What a legacy to leave.

Many times over the past decade or so, I would whisper to my wife, “Boy; am I going to miss her,” when we would leave her home or when she would leave ours. It was never said in a morbid sense, but it was rather an expression of my gratitude for her presence, tempered with the realization that it was a gift that would not last forever.

The many hundreds of shiva guests that came to our mother’s home have left and her five children have returned to our own homes and lives.

It’s quiet in my study now, and my keyboard is blurry as I think about welcoming Shabbos tomorrow without having the opportunity to call my mother.

Boy; do I miss her.

Life is short, my friends. Far too short.

Call your mother.

[1] See my mother’s essay One Foot in Front of the Other, which I posted the day before she died, sharing her life lessons as a widow, single mother, and later co-parenting a blended family.

Mom and Me

About the Author
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, founding dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam of Monsey, and director of Bright Beginnings, is an innovative educator, author, and child safety advocate. He is the publisher of two child safety books that are in over 120,000 homes in three languages, as well as the groundbreaking Bright Beginnings Gemara and Chumash workbooks that are in over 100 schools. He received the prestigious 2008 Covenant Award in recognition of his contribution to Jewish education. His most recent project is the Bright Beginnings Under-a-Minute Parenting Clips posting daily videos by Rabbi Horowitz on a wide range of topics on Instagram @brightbeginningsforum, and via WhatsApp by messaging “Sign-Up” to 845-540-2414. Rabbi Horowitz conducts child abuse prevention and parenting workshops in Jewish communities around the world.