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Tag Archives: Legacy

chain

 

I don’t have a lucky rabbit’s foot or any other form of good luck charm.  My daily life has its own anxieties, but none that I could cure with a specific talisman.

However, one piece of jewelry remains with me and its presence has a very powerful influence upon me mentally and emotionally.  I am aware of the love and connection beyond time, the strength of a mother’s love, and the devotion to preserving memories of those who have come before and deserve to be honored long after their passing.

This particular necklace was 72 inches in length, in rose gold, and worn by my great-grandmother, Amalia.  As she had three sons and three daughters, at some point she chose to have the necklace broken into three separate chains, one for each of her daughters, as a legacy gift.

However, the gift became even more meaningful as it is literally the only physical item that we have from her other than our genetic makeup.

Exactly 80 years ago, in the devastating rise of the Reich and rampant anti-Semitism, my grandparents decided to leave Amsterdam for the safety of the United States. There was a great deal of paperwork, they needed to be sponsored by an uncle, and prove that they could support themselves with genuine employment skills and would not be a burden to the government of the United States.

This necklace was given to my grandmother, by her mother, at a train station in Amsterdam in 1938.  My grandmother was 25 years old and it was the last time that she would ever see her mother.

My great grandparents and my 12 year old great uncle were killed on September 24, 1943 in the Auschwitz concentration camp.  My grandmother was 52 years old.

All of the records of our family members’ birth and death dates, as well as the respective cities, was available from the Dutch Government Registry of Persons killed in the Holocaust.

During a trip to Holland in 1994, my mother collected and compiled all of the data that she was able to for her grandparents, first cousins, aunts, uncles, and great-grandmother. In all, more than 75 members of our family were killed in the Holocaust.  Many more relatives were not accounted for.  As my mother grew up with no extended family, she respected their lives with uncovering their stories and honoring their legacy.

My grandmother gave the necklace to me, her oldest granddaughter, in 1995.  My grandmother was 81 years old at that time.  She had many health issues that she survived including breast cancer and two heart attacks during her lifetime.  She felt that it was much more important to give her gifts to each of us “with a warm hand” rather than a cold one (after her death).  Throughout my grandmother’s life, until the time that she gave it to me, she never removed it from her neck and kept it close to her heart.  I believe that it pleased her as well to see her granddaughter, named after her mother, wear this necklace with pride and respect.

Perhaps, what gives it that spark of a talisman is that it continues to carry the strength of its history, love, and strong emotion each time that I wear it.

According to an actual appraisal from a professional jeweler, this necklace is not worth very much and may have a small boost in its value for strictly historic reasons.

As an actual link to family and my place on the chain of mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters, it is priceless and could never be replaced.

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https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/talisman/

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love_u_a_bushel_and_a_peck

Get a group of siblings together, add a parent, or memories of one, and you will discover that you cannot imagine that you lived in the same house. It is incredible the variety of memories and stories from our youth that seem so different. Our emotions, inflections, good and bad, vary based on the relative telling the story. And, of course, we each think that someone else was her favorite.

At each family gathering, without my mother, the memories flow and the perspectives she left each of us with, becomes a topic of conversation. Her physical presence is not with us, but she is always a part of who we are and how we keep her with us.

We carry on her stories and merry escapades to share with our own children. By keeping her stories alive, we keep her a part of our lives always and make sure that our children and grandchildren realize how big a place she holds in our hearts. We sing her songs and greet each new family member with the lasting wishes she asked us to pass on. Her legacy of love is a promise we keep.

Luckily, Mom lived an interesting life, and had her own quirky way of looking at things, so that the story never ends.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/spinning-yarns/
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Robin Williams madness

The death of Robin Williams has come as a complete shock to all but it lingers in the hazy parts of our brain. It seems beyond comprehension that Robin Williams died of suicide, succumbing to his severe depression. How could the funniest man in the room suffer from depression?

Robin Williams’ performances were broad ranges of manic brilliance, comic timing, creative thinking, heartfelt emotions and vulnerability. He won his only Oscar for playing an empathetic therapist in “Good Will Hunting.” His performance had to be inspired by his real life experiences. It may be that Robin Williams suffered from a dual diagnosis depression. 60% of people suffering from depression have a dual diagnosis; this means that they suffer depression and substance abuse.

His brilliance, his humor, his open heart, his philanthropy, being a loving father, and his vulnerable, honest and searing explanations of the demons that he was fighting touched us in the deepest parts of our brain and hearts. With all of his accolades, he did not hide from the dark side of life. He was open and honest for anyone that could understand or learn from his challenges.

robin williams good will hunting

We are struggling to understand how a bright light suffered from such deep darkness and despair.

Robin_Williams

“You look at the world and see how scary it can be sometimes and still try to deal with the fear,” he said in 1989. “Comedy can deal with the fear and still not paralyze you or tell you that it’s going away. You say, OK, you got certain choices here, you can laugh at them and then once you’ve laughed at them and you have expunged the demon, now you can deal with them. That’s what I do when I do my act.” — Robin Williams

Robin Williams fought valiantly and sought help for his addictions multiple times. He worked to make us laugh as he wore his own mask (and a big red nose as Patch Adams).

robin williams gif

For those who think that depression is a sign of weakness or only a disease for the poor and homeless, remember Robin Williams’ 30 plus years of acting, performing, laughter and heart. Remember that he made us laugh when we felt we could not take another step in our own sadness. We sought escape from the struggles and challenges in our own lives by laughing along with him.

He left a legacy of laughter, but also a reminder that even the funniest, most brilliant, man in the room could suffer from depression.

Rest in Peace.

Robin Williams optimism

Over 20,000,000 million people in the U.S. are affected by Mental Illness. One of our best and brightest just died from it.
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conceptual by sadalit

Daily Prompt: Don’t You Forget About Me

I remember working until four days before my first child was born. I had gotten a college degree, a license to sell securities, begun an M.B.A. and moved countries. All of those things occurred before I was married!

Life changed and it did not. I wanted to be a mother and could not imagine who I would have been if I had not been able to become one. However, after the rush of things to do academically and career-wise, in those early 20’s, I discovered that old habits died hard.

Right after my son was born, I remember distinctly worrying about my resume and being sure that it was up to date so I could find another job if and when I had to. Then, being the ambitious person that I was, I knew that I wanted my children to have siblings close in age. That was a legacy that my mother gifted to me. So, I thought that I could raise two babies as easily as one.

People made jokes and asked me if I “Knew how it happened” and “What about buying a TV?” But we had our million dollar family. Over the next five years, we were blessed to make it a two million dollar family.

The things I want my children to remember are not the ones that they do. Sadly, the worst moments of our lives often live longer in memory than the crazy, fun, or creative ones. As a mother, it seems that the only legacy I leave is the one viewed in my children’s’ eyes. They will share what they recall with their children and friends. That is who I will be. Whether I tried to be that person, or not, that is how I will remain.

At the end of my days though, I will know in my heart, as I do now, that I was able to give my children the legacy of family. My mother was the historian and the fun grandmother. My father is the one who earned my children’s respect and whose advice they seek. So, if I do nothing else right, I had the decency to be born to wonderful parents ~~~ who made fabulous grandparents and great grandparents!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/prompt-dont-foget/
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