“Dearest Bubbe” by Sophia Yasgur

Sophia planned to read her letter aloud to Ruth Stregevsky, her maternal bubbe  (grandmother), in hospice. But before they could meet again, Ruth died. So Sophia read the letter 2 days later, at Ruth’s funeral.

Sophia editing this letter an hour before the funeral.

Sophia editing this letter an hour before the funeral.

Dearest Bubbe,

There is not enough ink in this pen or paper in this notebook to express all my emotions and memories we have shared. Where to begin? 

One of my earliest memories with you is a silly one. I don’t remember my age, but my family came over to your house for a Hanukkah dinner. I had brought what I thought was a “generous” gift: a one-dollar bill and a handful of coins. They were both gifts for you and Uncle Barry. I had each of you choose either the dollar bill or the coins. You picked the coins and let Barry have the dollar. What a selfless lady you were! This small, seemingly meaningless act showed your desire for others’ wants before your own, as well as your great acting skills! You pretended to be just so excited to have inherited this “sum” of money and acted like I had given you the best gift ever! I’m sure you hugged and kissed me like crazy telling me how generous I was and how much money that was to sacrifice. What a selfless thespian you were! 

Secondly, you have always been so funny. Noah and I would look at each other and laugh when you would say something or make a facial expression or sound that you may or may not have intended to be comical. 

The most notable memory is when you gave me the Heimlich maneuver when I was seven. Do you remember that?! You saved my life and if only I could have returned the favor and saved yours. I wanted you to make your goal of 100 so desperately! 91 is pretty darn good, though! 

I wish I knew when I visited on Friday that that would have been the last verbal conversation I would have with you. I would have said goodbye and everything I’ve said in this letter. You could have responded and confirmed your understanding of my deep, deep love and appreciation for you, as well as smiled at me, and told me one last time how “sexy” my legs are!

Things escalated with you so quickly in the last eight months that it was hard to absorb it and believe it. It seemed surreal for a while. But, now I know it is real. 

So there are two things I can promise you:

  1. When your daughter is old and ill, I promise to be there for her the way she has been for you. 
  2. I promise to continue your legacy by being me (who everyone says is a mimic of you). I promise to be outrageous, excited, off-the-wall, and friendly, just like Lucille Ball and Joan Rivers. This way, everyone will always be reminded of you in my goofball ways that I have inherited from you. 

Love always and forever,