Continuity and Love: The Legacy of Loved Ones

Rabbi Irwin Wiener, D.D.

There is nothing sweeter than a mother’s love. In fact, there is nothing more precious than the attachment that began in the womb and was then drawn into the light, still attached. And when the cord is severed, a different connection materializes containing loyalty, devotion, and affection. And that is what is known as a mother’s love.

A mother’s love is unconditional, demanding at times, but nevertheless filled with compassion and understanding. Not unlike the love that God has for each of us.

Each time we see a wave of soft, gray hair, we seem to see our mother there. We should hold her hand and tell her how much she means to us and how we understand how tired she must feel when she sees our pain.

If we only knew how to say thank you for giving us life. If only we could realize that one kind gesture, one kind act, to acknowledge the joy that was hers as we continue the journey started for us.

I am reminded of a story about an old man planting a carob tree. He was asked when he thought the tree would bear fruit. The answer he gave was that it probably would take 70 years. Of course, the question on the mind of the person witnessing this was whether the man planting the tree expected to live long enough to eat the fruit of his labors. His reply is what continuity is all about: “We did not find the world desolate when we entered it, and as the generations past planted for us, so do we plant for those who will follow.”

Perhaps all this would enable us to kiss our mother’s face and tell her how grateful we are for her encouragement and the feeling of security that comes from knowing that she will always be there to caress our cares so as to ease the burden.

So, as we continue our journey of love for the one who never stops showing us love, we should pause for a moment and remember her sacrifices, as she continues bringing us the beauty of God as we thank God for the beauty of life.

I am reminded of the following and dedicate it to all mothers:

Someone I love comes back to me with every gentle face I see beneath each wave of soft, grey hair, I seem to see my mother there.

With every kindly glance and word, it seems as if I must have heard her speak and felt her tender gaze with the love of olden days. And, sob my years and cares away, the tears I have so long repressed.

I think if I could be moved to take her hand and tell her I understand how tired she grew beneath the strain of feeling every loved one’s pain.

No further burdens could she bear the promise of that land fairer alone could tempt her from her child; and now if I could keep her here, no sacrifice could be too dear,

No tempered winds for her too mild.

Then I would feel her touch once more, it would not matter much how sunny or how dark the day. —Author unknown

On the occasion dedicated to all mothers, we say, “thank you,” and hope your day and the days ahead will be filled with joy you so richly deserve.