I'm Rebecca Rapoport, Joan's elder daughter. And these are her grandchildren, Allanna and Jason Zachary.
Thank you all for coming. Mom would have been touched, flattered, and a little embarrassed by this, especially since Mom didn't think of herself as someone who made friends easily, though she was certainly very close to the friends she made. I think she may have under-estimated her friend-making abilities.
I'm so sorry that many of you didn't get a chance to say goodbye in person. I'm especially sad for those of you who didn't even hear she was ill until after she died. Her illness was discovered and then over so very quickly, and we were so caught up in the daily logistics.and the hope that a miracle would occur, or at least that she would stabilize.that we never had time to catch our breath. It probably doesn't make you feel any better to know that we asked many who did know to delay their visit because she wasn't up for visitors.I'm sad for you too. I hope you at least have the tarnished silver lining of being left with only happy memories of the strong, vibrant woman Mom was for the vast majority of her life.the woman who climbed Mt, Whitney two years ago. Though I wouldn't have chosen to be anywhere else, the memory of her final moments will probably always haunt me.
We were all robbed, Mom most of all. She missed meeting JZ by fewer than six weeks. (Or should that be less than six weeks? Mom would've known.) She did get to feel him hiccuping inside me once. She missed Julie's wedding by less than a year. She missed watching Allanna and Zack grow up, and their graduations and perhaps weddings. We really did expect her to live to her 90s and maybe 100. I draw very small comfort from the belief that she's beyond caring about that now, so I can selfishly focus on what I was robbed of, bitch. (Is there anyone here who hasn't heard Mom's father's favorite joke, which was probably her favorite joke too? The remarkable thing is that Mom told that joke correctly; she was actually a terrible joke-teller, usually referring to a joke by its punchline when asking if you had heard a joke, thus rendering it less funny to say the least.)
Mom and Dad were/are great parents. Julie and I sometimes wondered how they would have dealt with different.more rebellious, less studious.kids. But I've been thinking lately that we got that backwards. They made it awfully easy to be good kids. And they led by example when it came to learning. We lived in a houseful of books that were read, not just for display. Mom and Dad read to us until I was twelve or so. And we all remember Mom's newspapers. I can't remember Mom happier than the day she heard I had gotten into Van Nuys Math/Science magnet. She literally jumped up and down for joy. Someone else will have to speak to how happy she was at other times I imagine to be up there.her wedding, the birth of her children and grandchildren, the summit of Mt. Whitney.
One of the things I feel most robbed about is that I was just getting to know her mother to mother. I expected to consult Mom more and more as my kids grow up. For example, she was a staunch believer in the public schools, but she also worked tirelessly to ensure that Julie and I got the very best the public schools had to offer. I was aware of this, but I never asked about her methodology, and now I can't.
I never picked her brain on her parenting philosophy in general. Maybe it wasn't something she had thought through in so many words.I find that my own parenting so far is rather instinctive.but there are times when it pays to pre-think how to handle something and I will mourn Mom every time I come to one of those moments, because you can be sure she would have been the first person I asked for an opinion. Well maybe second, after Dean (my husband).
I'll miss the joy she took in being a grandparent. Allanna never got to play with clay with her grandma. Mom never even got to hold JZ. By the way, Mom's father always said he would name a son Zachary Zebulon Zucker. Luckily, he had only daughters. I told Mom about Zack's name the day before she died, and she was pleased that Zack would get the name she would have had if she had been a boy. Also, Jason has all the letters in Joan, though not in the correct order. Nothing accidental about that name.
I haven't said much about her potting, partly because I figure others will, and partly because I could talk indefinitely about what her pottery means to me and others. So I will try to be brief: First, she made potting work as a job in a way I hold up as the ideal. Nevermind that she didn't get wealthy potting.Mom always said that Dad was her patron of the arts.it was still clearly her profession and not just something she did to pass the time while Julie and I were at school. But it was a profession that allowed her to be home when Julie and I got home from school. I haven't found a job like that yet, but I'll keep looking. Second, I'll miss being able to give her pots as gifts. Third, I love being surrounded by her pottery.I had just started letting Allanna use Mom's pots before we learned about the cancer.and now I don't want to let anyone touch Mom's pots because they're all irreplaceable. Then again, I know Mom wanted her pots used, so I set aside some of my favorites but I do let Allanna use some too.
I'd like to close with some of my thoughts on Mom's strongest qualities. She had a great sense of humor, was an ardent supporter of her family and friends, was obviously a gifted artist, and she was always right (no really), including on subjects she had no right to know best. I always valued her advice but that last quality really became clear to me in college, when she routinely gave me advice directly opposed to my advisors. By the end of my first semester of college, I had stopped listening to my advisors and just started going to Mom when faced with a tricky dilemma. I'd love her advice on how to get through the rest of my life without my mother.
I love you Mom.