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The following story was written by Liz Lippa and shared as part of the Memory Project.

If I could have just one more day with someone who is no longer alive, I would choose my mother. I was only thirty-five years old when she died. She did get to see my six wonderful children, but they were only five through fifteen years old. I know that no grandmother ever loved her grandchildren more than she did, but she only got to see them a few times a year for just a few short days. My mother had to leave her own parents behind when she was thirty-four years old after Hitler chased us out of Vienna. The following year, my grandparents were murdered in Auschwitz, as were other family members, so my mother lived her life mourning for her missing family.

I would like to sit with my mother and let her know what has happened to me and my family. I would want to tell her that I went to college, and I accomplished getting a master’s degree and had a wonderful career helping people have better lives. I would show her pictures of all of her beautiful grandchildren and great grandchildren and recount to her what a wonderful, big family has resulted from us. I would want her to know how much we all love one another.

My mother’s life was so limited in having to leave her beloved Vienna and then to immigrate twice to foreign countries, where she raised her two children under very difficult circumstances. I would tell her that everything she passed on to me has been tremendously useful and has made me a good person and a very good mother to my own children. I would thank her for teaching me to sew and cook and get along with others and to be loving and compassionate.

I would want to sit with her, hold her hand, give her long hugs, and look into her beautiful brown eyes, so full of love and wisdom. Although I regret not writing her more letters, and I wish I had called her more often, I would not waste any time with regrets or apologies. I would use every minute of the day giving her the joy of knowing what a rich, full life I have had, because I know that nothing would make her happier than that.

(December 2007)