Saturday, July 01, 2023

Peggy Raskind Blumenthal, Zichrona Livracha

Nearly two weeks ago, on Monday June 19th at 9:08pm, Shira stood by her Mother's bedside as my Mother-in-Law took her last breath. And just like that, our entire world changed. Gone was a constant source of support and love.

Since then it's been a whirlwind of emotion and activity. From helping to plan the funeral to sitting shiva with friends and family, to dealing with an overheated power cable that canceled our flight back to DC. There's just been too much to do. But I suppose that's sort of the point: the process is so overwhelming you can't do it alone. Instead, you need to rely on the community to get you through this; which they've done so beautifully. We've been recipients of an amazing outpouring of support and I'm humbled and beyond thankful for it.

You know who would know how to navigate this process well? My Mother-in-Law. Not only was she an active member of the Rochester Jewish Community, joining others throughout her life to help grieving families, but family events were literally her business. For years she ran The "B" Hive, which provided custom invitations and gifts to a wide range of clientele. Her attention to detail meant she knew just how to word a delicate invitation; or to be sure not to miss a single detail that would render a stack of invitations as worthless. We sure could use her knowledge and experience right about now.

One of the many things that Shira and her sister Elana took care of was ordering custom thank you notes. I happened to be the one to hand Elana a large stack of them and Elana's first question to me was: did you count the order? Wait, what? You mean, I was supposed to hand count the 100 notes from Vista Print to make sure that they really gave us 100? Isn't that excessive? Elana explained that a standard part of her Mom's invitation business was verifying that exactly the right number (or more) of the materials showed up. If the customer paid for 230 invitations, then there better be 230 invitations in the box. Letting her customers discover the error wasn't acceptable. As a rule, she'd find and fix any glitches before they made it to her customers. And so my Mother-in-Law became diligent about always checking her orders, and whether by nature or nurture, Elana now does the same thing.

And just for a moment, we had my Mother-in-Law back in the room helping us get through all of this this.

My Mother-in-Law loved music, sang in a choir and still had her vast record and cassette collection.  Shira relayed to me that one of her favorite songs was Chad and Jeremy's, "A Summer Song."  The lyrics couldn't be more perfect:

They say that all good things must end somedayAutumn leaves must fallBut don't you knowThat it hurts me soTo say goodbye to you?

Peggy Raskind Blumenthal, you will be greatly missed. Your memory will always be one our most precious blessings.

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