The weekend before Elan's birth, on Saturday September 11th, 2010, his last living great grandparent Tillie Panush, who we all affectionately call Bobe, passed at the age of 96. She lived a wonderful long life and has watched 4 daughters, 11 grandchildren, and 17 great grandchildren grow. Her passing was not shocking given her long life, but in the days preceding we interpreted the symbolism of her making room on earth for her 18th great grandchild, the son of her youngest grandchild. We never really had time to mourn her and only now is it really sinking in that she is gone.
Bobe mingled with auspicious dates. She was born on December 25th and would joke that she had a special relationship with Jesus. Of course she would pass during a national day of mourning and reflection. As our family tells us, the Rabbi explained in her service that passing between Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur indicates a special relationship with God. That Elan and her share this is somehow puzzling and beautiful at the same time to her grandson who does not seek religious answers, but finds comfort in spiritual ones.
Bobe had zeal and passion. She knew how to set the record straight, had a strong sense of moral equity, integrity, and she never hid her feelings. She read the NY Times cover to cover well into her nineties. She was a champion word-smith and scrabble player. She was tough and wise. She probably would not be best described as sweet, but she had a sweetness for children. She was tender, hid her problems, and protected the youngest.
We think on what Bobe's legacy is to our family, what she shares with Elan, what wisdom she would have imparted, and the blessings she offers in her living and dying. We miss her and yet are at peace with her passing, with easy knowledge of her time here. She shares a legacy of love and hope, of lightness and dark, of peace, with her youngest great grandchild. Perhaps she is holding him in her arms right now and together radiating their love on us.