Ode to my dear friend, Tamar.
One afternoon in 2004 at my apartment in La Jolla, I saw this tiny white-haired woman struggling to carry her groceries. I ran over and offered to help carry them. I think she was surprised by this gesture from a stranger, but we became instant friends and soon we were sharing our life stories. Tamar was a warm and outgoing woman who made friends easily. In her golden years, she sacrificed everything for her daughter, Barbara. She was lonely for her son, who lived far away at that time. She talked about Steven all the time, was so proud he was a rabbi, and shared pictures every time she had new ones. When her grand-daughter was born, she was so incredibly proud, and couldn’t wait to visit her. After she visited, she couldn’t wait to go back. Tamar loved her independence but she missed her family very much. I also had two children – two daughters. My oldest was just ten when Tamar babysat her after school. One of Cara’s favorite memories was sitting in Tamar’s living room pretending to do her homework while they watched M.A.S.H., and Barbara worked on puzzles and Bandit the overstuffed cat snored peacefully under Tamar’s bed. This was the essence of Tamar. She invited you in, made her home yours, and loved to talk for hours. Sometimes we just talked on the phone, sometimes we ate lunch at her favorite sushi place or at Soup Plantation. We shared Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, and even Christmas. When she called me and got my answering machine, she would say “Hi, Lisa, it’s dreidel, dreidel,” with a happy voice. No matter what, she started each new day with a positive outlook. Tamar was also a writer and encouraged me to write. She wrote poetry and short stories, and loved to share her work. When our apartment complex was sold, I together with another friend moved her entire house to a new apartment. She ended up living there until nearly the end of 2016 when her son Steven came to California, packed her up and moved her with him to Colorado. That would be the last time I would ever see her, except in my dreams. This morning, she completed her earthly journey and left us for the next life. I will forever miss Tamar and all the wonderful times we had together. I will miss the sound of her voice telling me about her life, telling me to not be afraid, to be strong, and to work hard. In some ways, Tamar was like a mother to me, but mostly she was a wonderful dear friend that I and my daughters will miss very much. Rest in peace, Tamar, and know we love you more than words can say.
Lisa, Cara and Kaitlyn