Jill Of Some Trades

And Master Of At Least One


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You Know You Spend Too Much Time…

…around death when the person that you are ordering the monument from remembers you and the special order that you did for your mother. As I was ordering my sister’s monument, he mentioned how unusual it was; meaning the stone that I ordered. When my mother died, my sister and I wanted something a little different, but you can’t just order whatever you like in some places. I had to go pick the stone out by myself, but I called Michele after figuring out what I wanted to do. I wanted the blue granite from one sample, the carving of another, the shading of yet another, and a tree of life from, yes another stone.

The gentleman felt so badly for me, that he gave me the same price for Michele’s stone as he had for my mother’s. The whole process was so familiar, it took less than 20 minutes. A whole lifetime is summed up on that stone. The day my sister was born, the day that she died. But, there is no in between. Just a few words saying who she was to me, to the other people that loved her and a 5-7 word epitaph. Nothing more – nothing less. Nothing to describe the perpetual ache that I feel not having the person that I trusted the most to confide in. Nothing to describe how brave my sister was. Nothing that completely says who she was.

Sometimes, when I think of my own time, which is rare, I think about what my own 5-7 words be. Then, I realize that it won’t matter, to me at least. It’s the before, not the after that matters in life. After is the “what if” that we all fear because no one can tell us what happens. It’s about faith that there is something better for some, and acceptance that there is nothing else for others. I’m somewhere in between. Just like life is about that in between. There was a poem that my cousin shared about this ]a few years about when her own brother died. It stayed with me – just thinking about the years for my sister 1965-2020. With only 5-7 words to describe that in between – the life that she led

I went for dinner tonight with someone who mentioned that I haven’t blogged in awhile. If he is reading this, thank you – I’ve decided to write tonight because thoughts of that in-between for my sister have been weighing on me and I needed a push to talk about it. Not just because I miss her, but because it’s that in-between that I miss. The way that she understood situations. I can’t fit that on her headstone. The way she could read people. Not enough room. But my heart has the room that I need for those memories. My sister will never be far from it. Even though she is at the end, not the in-between


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Musings About My Mother on Her Birthday

My sister Michele would often tell me that I was a suck up. I would tell her that maybe I was just a bit of a Mummy’s girl. She would roll her eyes, shake her head at me and snort “A bit?” I would always say something to annoy her – like my mother and I had a special relationship since we were both youngest children…but the real reason that I was a Mummy’s girl, suck up, or whatever you want to call it is because my mother wasn’t just a good mother, she was a great person. When people give me compliments about her, which has been happening a lot lately, I preen like a swan princess, agreeing, always saying “Yes, wasn’t she just the best?” It isn’t just me being a proud daughter, it’s something that I say with true belief. My mother is, was and always will be someone I deeply admire. Yes, I say it a lot, but it bears repeating for those of you who weren’t lucky enough to know her.

Case in point – actually cases in points….or is it cases in point???? Anyway, neither here nor there…

  1. One night, several weeks ago, not one, not two, but three of my mother’s friends called me to check in on me. In fact, they call me every month. Now, I know that I’m likable (to some, to others, if you don’t like me, I’ve officially reached the age where I don’t care, but I wish you well). They reach out, because they loved my mother, and I’m her daughter. It’s as simple as that.
  2. I decided to stay in my mother’s condo for a number of reasons. It’s well located, well maintained, but mostly, it always felt like my family home. It brings me great comfort to be here for now. The concierges in this building are also so kind to me….because of my mother. When my sister died, they said, “Don’t worry Jill, we’ll look after you.” The head concierge, another concierge and building manager came to my mother’s funeral. When I stood crying over boxes of her things that were being taken away, one came over to me and said, “We understand Jill, we miss her too.”
  3. Speaking of which, it was the building manager who drove me to my sister’s funeral – long story – one day, I’ll feel up to telling it. When I went to drop a gift to him to say thank you, he said, “You know why I did it? I did it for your Mom, she was a great lady.” I of course, starting the aforementioned preening. Sorry, I can’t be modest – she was a great lady. I simply smiled, preened and said “She really was the best, wasn’t she? I’m not just saying that because she was my mother.”
  4. I was on the elevator a few weeks ago with an older couple. The woman asked me if I was new in the building, and I said no, I’d been here for awhile in 1301. She looked confused, so I said I’m Judy Schneiderman’s daughter like that would explain it all. She said, “Oh your mother was such a lovely woman. She always had a smile on her face, no matter how sick she was.” Of course, I said, “She really was lovely, wasn’t she?” I knew at that moment that I needed more originality, my mother, somewhere up there was getting bored with my answers. When I bumped into them again, she once again looked at me, and she said, “Oh, your Judy Schneiderman’s daughter. It’s so nice to see you again. I know I said it before, but your mother was really lovely and never complained.” I felt like leaping around the elevator, but I didn’t want to knock them over, so I simply mask-smiled and said, “She never, ever complained. She was a really great mother too.” Elevator conversations are brief and I didn’t want to follow them down their hallway begging for more compliments about my mother – it would just have embarrassed her – I would have been totally fine.
  5. I just had a conversation with someone tonight who just found out recently that my sister died. We talked briefly about my mother – and she said, “I’d love to meet you for a walk one day. You know, your mother was a really great woman. I always really liked her.” I need to get a grip, that put me into full peacock mode, and I of course said, “She really was great, wasn’t she?” waiting for the desired answer of yes, but not needing the affirmation. I also silently kicked myself for lack of originality.

Days have gone by giving way to years – 3 of them. It feels like yesterday and forever since I last heard my mother speak. If someone talks to me about her on April 15th though, I’ll let them know that this day is the most special day of the year – it was the day that the greatest person to walk (like a turtle at times) the face of the earth was born. My proudest moments in life aren’t when I win an award, enjoy success or anything like that. It’s when I get to tell someone that I’m Judy Schneiderman’s daughter.