Posted in Writing Life

In Memory of Esther Levin

There are words that people use at a time like this: “unexpected passing,” “beloved mother, sister, daughter, friend,” “after a short illness.” These words can be said electronically, but the virtual world must bow here to 3D. The reality of breath halted must be faced, its gravity given due honour. The body is interred. The mourners sit shiva. Friends and family come. Food is brought. Prayers are conducted in the old way.

My next door neighbour is suddenly gone. I won’t see her coming up the stairs. We won’t stand and talk on the porch anymore.

I knew her when she was pregnant, becoming a mom in her 40s. And later when her son was young, I asked her what it was like because life had taken twists and turns that hadn’t allowed me to become a mother at the age I’d expected. She encouraged me and I took it to heart. She led the way and I followed.

Our conversations, wherever they started, the roof, the street, always ended up with our children. I know that she was immensely proud of her son, Dana, and that she expected many more years with him, coming from a long-lived family as she did.

We are given words to say, routine words, because the weight of mortality otherwise would leave us speechless. She will be missed. She will be fondly remembered.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

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