“Dearest Bubbe Ruth” by Chana Sutofsky

Chana Sutofsky wrote this letter after learning that Ruth Stregevsky, her bubbe (grandmother), had only a few days to live. The letter was read at Ruth’s funeral by one her other granddaughters, Sophia Yasgur.

Dearest Bubbe Ruth,

I can’t believe you’re gone! I can’t believe I’ll never again be able to call and hear you exclaim, Han-na!! How’re Kivi and the kids?” To never again get one of your pep talks that always made me feel like a million dollars! 

As my husband Kivi pointed out correctly, each and every memory I have of you is a happy, positive one. And that’s over a span of 31 years! Not onebadmemory!

Whenever Kivi and I discuss whether a “perfect marriage” really exists, your marriage to Zaide (grandfather) Sam is my prime example that there really are couples who have that beautiful, elusive type of relationship. Thank you for modeling so beautifully how to be a loving wife, mother, and grandmother.

When I think of you, I have so many wonderful memoriesgoing to Hot Bagels countless times; the Union Terminal museum; King’s Island, where you schlepped around all day in the summer heat with me and Nachum, and then you fainted in the elevator of the Eiffel Tower ride. You sure gave us a scare, but thank G-D you were fine!

   Ruth, Chana, and Nachum at King's Island amusement park, Ohio, circa 1987

Ruth, Chana, and Nachum at King's Island amusement park, Ohio, circa 1987

When I’m driving and I get lost, or end up driving around in circles, I never stress outI just remember occasionally getting lost on the way to somewhere fun with you and Zaide (of course, this was in the days before GPS!) and how it was an exciting adventure, almost as good as the destination itself! You were so young at heartyou called Zaide a “Goofball” and we laughed and laughed.

You went out of your way to give me a Nachum a wonderful time whenever we were in Cincinnati, and whenever you visited us. Thank you for coming to visit us in Houston with Diane and Sophiawe all remember it so fondlywe only wished you all could have stayed longer!

You went to shul every week, and to your Bible class. You always spoke about the kollel  (Torah academy) with such respect and admiration.

You always took such good care of yourself, and encouraged me to do the same. Once, you sent me an exercise DVD that you enjoyed and thought I would like. You wore beautiful suits, high heels, and lipstick; you exercised; and most of all, you enjoyed life. You were always doing, giving classes, writing plays. You were so creative! You had such a dramatic way of speaking; it was lovely.

You were blessed with an upbeat, happy personality that was like a breath of fresh air to me whenever we spoke or saw each other. 

Thank you for always treating me like your 100 percent natural granddaughter. For seeing the positive in every situation, for always building me up and making me feel like the most beautiful, accomplished person.

Thank you for our special, loving relationship. Thank you for including Kivi and my kids in your love, and sending us Hanukkah and birthday gifts that were always so appreciated. I will of course never forget you, and I will never stop missing you. I know you’re in a better place now, and I’m happy you were at peace until the end.

With endless love,

Your granddaughter,

Chana