in memoriam

Day 2451: In memory of my mother

Today is the 11th anniversary of my late mother’s passing, according to the lunar Hebrew calendar AND the solar Gregorian calendar. To honor her memory, I lit a Yahrzeit candle:

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This is the obituary of my mother that’s still online:

Louise (Sulkin) Koplow

Entered into rest August 12 at the age of 90 years, of Peabody, formerly of Lynn & Swampscott. Beloved wife of the late Aaron Koplow. Devoted mother of Ellen Koplow of Medford & Ann Koplow of Brighton. Cherished grandmother of Aaron David Fairbanks of Brighton. Loving sister of the late Emma Gordon, Elizabeth Rich, Esther Sulkin, Beatrice Plane, Ernest & Louis Sulkin. Dear aunt of many nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews & their families. She also leaves a large group of friends that she has known for decades. Services at Stanetsky-Hymanson Memorial Chapel, 10 Vinnin Street, SALEM/SWAMPSCOTT line on Thursday, Aug. 14 at 1:00 p.m. Interment at Cong. Ahabat Shalom Memorial Park, Danvers. Memorial week through Tuesday, August 19, daily from 2-5pm and 7-9pm at Woodbridge Assisted Living, 240 Lynnfield St, Peabody. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy may be made in her memory to the American Heart Assoc., 20 Speen St., Framingham, MA 01701.

I miss my mother, who had a huge influence on me, every day.  As the years go by, I have more “conversations” with her in my head. I can still hear her voice, saying my name, with a mixture of love, concern, worry, and anticipation.  Here are other things I can hear her say, in her special voice:

Everything worth doing is worth doing well.

There’s a place for everything and everything in its place.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I can also hear her infectious laugh and see her dancing and clapping at holidays and celebrations.  She loved my father’s sense of humor  but she would kick him under the table when she thought he had gone too far with a teasing joke.  She was thoughtful, kind, and welcoming to all.  She didn’t like surprises, but she appreciated the wedding anniversary surprise party my sister organized for our parents. My mother loved living near the ocean and she spent a lot of time in the sun on the beach.

My mother was very clean and neat and she did not want a pet in our house.  However, after my first heart surgery at age 10, she let me get my heart’s desire — a kitty.  She loved that cat, too, and after Tuffy died at age 13, my mother told me she saw a bird in the yard  she thought was Tuffy reincarnated.  Although reincarnation didn’t really fit in with the Orthodox Jewish beliefs my mother adopted after she married my father, I think that reflected how she chose to grieve — to believe that a beloved spirit still existed.  Like my mother did with Tuffy,  I see my mother in other beings, everywhere.

Yesterday, consciously or unconsciously, I took many photos to fit today’s post.

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Here’s a favorite photo of my mother:

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Here‘s a song that my father sang to my mother on another anniversary celebration:

Thanks to my mother, to all who loved her, and to you — of course! — for reading this post, today.

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 2016: How to be more awesome

Yesterday, as I was on my way to pick up my new and more awesome laptop, I saw this:

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How can we be more awesome, besides by buying new things?  There are two sides to my awesome suggestion:

  1. Realize you are awesome to begin with.
  2. Treat everyone you meet as if they were awesome too.

There are probably more ways to be more awesome, but I need to share my latest awesome photos so I can get to my awesome job in awesome time.

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Those awesome people are Mark (the genius at the Apple Store who made my new laptop be more awesome with a total data transfer two days ahead of schedule), Megan, Corinne, and our late friend Michelle — whose awesome birthday is today and who helped everybody she met be more awesome.  At the awesome memorial/celebration party for Michelle yesterday,  we heard the song she thought was more awesome than any other song:

Being alive is more awesome with all the awesome people in the world.

More awesome thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to awesome YOU.

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Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 1992: Michelle

Yesterday, my good friend Michelle passed away.

Last month, I wrote and shared this limerick with Michelle:

A wonderful person Michelle,

Treats all whom she meets very well.

I’m consistently crying

’cause I know that she’s dying

Though I know she’s not going to Hell.

Michelle smiled and said, “Maybe I am going to Hell.”  I replied, “With everything I know about you and Hell, there’s no way you’re going there.”

I don’t know where Michelle went yesterday but I do know she’s no longer here where I and many others have known and loved her for so long.

Michelle’s husband Joe wrote yesterday about how she had spent her last day on this earth. He told us she heard her favorite Irish blessing.

“May the road rise to meet you, may the wind be always at your back, may the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon your fields and, until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.”

He wrote that she felt held and that she died at home at peace with grace and dignity. He signed his email to us “With profound sadness.”

With profound sadness, here are all the photos captured on my iPhone yesterday.

 

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Many years ago, when I was in the hospital recovering from a heart-related illness, Michelle loaned me her DVD of “Rent.”  Today, I include this song from that musical in honor of her.

Thank you, Michelle, for all the seasons of love.  And thanks to all of you for visiting here, now.

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

Day 1610: Enter here

Enter here, dear readers.

As I enter another blog post here, I wonder why I entered this image onto my iPhone yesterday.

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I shall enter here my best guesses:

  • It’s good to know where you should enter.
  • No matter where we are or where we’ve been, we still need to enter different places.
  • Soon I shall enter a new home.
  • Next year, I shall enter a new position of responsibility.
  • Yesterday, after I entered the place where I saw the “Enter Here” sign, I ran into somebody who had previously held that position of responsibility.  When I asked him if he thought I had what it took to enter into that position successfully, he entered a vote of confidence.
  • I have entered many blog posts here and hope to enter many more.
  • Today is Memorial Day in the USA, where we honor those who entered battle, never to return.

I shall now enter here, with gratitude, my other photos from yesterday.

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Categories: gratitude, in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

Day 1487: What is your greatest strength?

What is your greatest strength?

One of my greatest strengths is asking questions.

Earlier this week, I asked people in a therapy group what their greatest strengths were.  When somebody replied, “I don’t have any strength,” I changed my question to “What are your positive qualities?”

One of my greatest strengths is noticing interesting things around me and taking pictures of them.

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It looks like Siri’s greatest strengths include answering questions but NOT driving a car.

A lot of women in the 1970s, including me, saw great strengths in the late Mary Tyler Moore.

Another one of my greatest strengths is expressing appreciation for others.  Thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for all your strengths (even if you don’t feel strong).

Categories: group therapy, in memoriam, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Day 1458: We’re still alive

Yesterday, in a therapy group, somebody said, “We’re still alive.”  Since that phrase felt very alive to me, I wrote it on my white board, where it still is.

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I heard and wrote that shortly  before I found out that Carrie Fisher was no longer alive, when I  read this on Facebook: “We lost a Jedi.”

I still believe it’s important,  every day, to remember we’re still alive, because eventually every one of us will be still.

Here‘s the best song for this post —  Stephen Sondheim’s “I’m Still Here” from Carrie Fisher’s Postcards from the Edge:

 

I often sing that song when I walk around, still alive,  and see scenes like this:

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Which images are still alive, for you?

I’m very grateful we’re still alive as I thank all  who helped me create this post and you — of course —  for still being here.

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 34 Comments

Day 1280: Day and Night

Yesterday,  I was afraid to venture out into the light of a beautiful weekend day, because I’d been running fevers for three days and two nights.

Here are my photos from  the day:

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All those photos reminded me of people I love, which lightened my day.

When day turned into night, I heard that Elie Wiesel had passed into “that good night” . I spent last night  reading his first and most famous book,  Night, about the Holocaust.

Now, it’s another day.

What helps change your personal night into day? My answer has to include  music, movies, and dance.

Daily, I believe that a blog post without a comment is like day without night (or vice versa).

Thanks to all who turn my nights into day, including you.

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 32 Comments

Day 1275: The right call?

Is it the right call that I’m starting today’s blog post with this photo — the first image that called out to me yesterday morning?

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Is it the right call to include links to definitions of “the right call” at this point, here and here?

Was it the right call to title this post Day 1275: The right call?   Would it have been a better call to title it Day 1275: Welcome, considering all the other photos I took yesterday?

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Was it the right call for me to present all the photos I took yesterday in chronological order?

Is it the right call for me to characterize the first conversation  with Garry Shandling,  below, as an example of two people who connect well and the second one as an example of two people who do NOT connect well?

http://comediansincarsgettingcoffee.com/garry-shandling-its-great-that-garry-shandling-is-still-alive

Do you think it was the right call for Jerry Seinfeld to name that episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee “It’s Great that Garry Shandling is Still Alive,” since Garry Shandling died soon after that? Do you think Ricky Gervais made the right call deciding not to continue his interview show after his experience with Garry Shandling?

Is it the right call for me to be asking questions about video segments that many of my readers may not watch today?

Would it be the right call for you to comment on today’s post?  Only you can make that call.

It’s always the right call for me to thank those who help me create a post and those who follow the call to read it (including you!).

 

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , | 22 Comments

Day 1261: Sounds

When the sounds of murderous gunfire ring out on American soil, I listen, again, to the sounds  of Australian-born comedian Jim Jefferies and his monologue on gun control:

While the sounds of that comedy routine (recorded in my sound  hometown of Boston and now sounding on Youtube here and here) include many obscenities, I passionately believe that the assaulting sound of gunfire is much more obscene than the sound reasoning I hear there.

Here are over seven minutes of  important sounds about the 49 people killed in Orlando on Sunday.

 

As always, I yearn for the sound of your voices, in comments below.

I hope you can hear the sound of love, in my heart, for you all.

 

 

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth | Tags: , , , | 33 Comments

Day 1208: This is what it sounds like

This is what it sounds like when doves cry.

This is what it sounds like when humans cry.

That’s weak!

Grow up!

Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about.

Don’t be a baby.

Man up!

Get over it.

This is what it sounds (and looks) like when an amazing musical artist dies.

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This is what it sounds like when a surviving blogger expresses gratitude for all she has.

 

Categories: in memoriam, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , | 30 Comments

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