And I Wrote This Book.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mom, In Memoriam

Edith Engel, 6/27/36  -  3/20/85

She grew up in Speden, Alberta, Canada --a town so small, it no longer exists. After graduating first in her class at the University of Alberta, Mom was offered a job as Head Dietician at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.  She eagerly packed her bags, bound for a great career move, American citizenship, life in a bustling city, and...

In June of 1964, Mom met and married Dad. (Last year, I finally did the basic math; it seems my parents likely had a shotgun wedding, since they married three weeks after they met, and my sister was born 8 months later.) Mom wanted four kids: two girls and two boys. Dad agreed, it seems, because that's what they got. 

Years passed. Antsy for a new challenge, Mom enrolled in law school. She'd graduate second in her class and pass the State Bar on round one --all while in her 40s, with four kids at home. I'd never seen her so content. Mom told me that raising a family and working full-time as a lawyer was "like having the best of both worlds."

The call came on Halloween night, 1984. "Your mother's very sick," Dad said. Medical staff talked coldly about an aggressive cancer that had started in her colon and spread rapidly to assault the rest of Mom's body. I spent the next five months juggling freshman classes, and watching my mother shrivel into a ghostly skeleton on the hospital bed that dominated our house. Three months short of her 50th birthday, Mom took her final breath.

Over 300 people attended the funeral. Everybody loved Mom. She shone with an angelic, calming presence; an unassuming competence and brilliance; and a deeply humble, giving nature.

Mom left behind a broken family, lost in a world she had made more beautiful. 

I miss her every day. 

31 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry that you lost your mum so young - terrible. A cliche but bright stars do seem to burn short.

    A wonderful tribute Robyn. xo

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  2. Beautiful tribute, Robyn. I know the feeling... I miss my Mom every single day.

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  3. A touching tribute, Robyn. Losing a parent is difficult at any age, so it must have been especially tough when you were still a teenager. I'm glad you have fond memories of her.

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  4. A lovely tribute which brought tears to my eyes. I lost my own Mum a few months ago after a long illness so can share your pain and sense of loss. Enjoy and cherish your happy memories, Robyn.

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  5. This post moved me so much Robyn, especially since I know that this year my mother has had to battle with these exact same feelings, even worse that you lost her so young, I'm so sorry for that Robyn, she would be so proud right now though of her children, of you for the wonderful, emphatic and talented lady that you've became over the years, so so proud.

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  6. Robyn I'm sorry she left you so early and didn't get a chance to see the woman that you've become. You would've made her proud.

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  7. A beautiful tribute to you Mom. She passed away much too young although it sounds like she packed a lot of accomplishments into her time on earth. Great to learn of your Alberta/Canada connection through her.

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  8. A very beautiful tribute to your mother. Made me have tears in my eyes. Hugs to you! I think I see the resemblance in you with your mom. Beautiful ladies!

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  9. Great tribute and that cancer is horrible.

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  10. My dad didn't even make it to fifty, he died when I was seven from lung cancer caused by his chain smoking

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  11. Wow she sure was a go getter indeed. Wonderful tribute, stupid cancer.

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  12. Anthony, thank you. I like the chiche; it's true.

    MsA, hugs to you.

    GB, I appreciate your kindness, my friend.

    Suzanne, thank you for sharing that. I'm so sorry for your loss. May good memories give you strength today and always.

    YW, your sweet words mean a lot. Thank you.

    Alex, you always have just the right words.

    Debra, yes, I felt a connection to you via Canada (and specifically, Alberta) since we first met.

    MF, you're so sweet and your comment brings tears to my eyes. Gosh darnit, where's the tissue? Smiles.

    John, it's an unrelenting beast.

    Adam, thank you for sharing that. I am so sorry. You must've been so lost at that time - you and he were way too young. Plus you have had to contend with the horrible societal message that lung cancer victims did it to themselves.

    To all, your messages mean a lot. I hope you have good mom-related experiences and/or memories to warm your hearts today.

    xoRobyn

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  13. So sorry for this loss that I know will never heal, but how fortunate you were to have such a wonderful roll model in your life. Happy Mother's Day.

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  14. It sucks losing a parent so young. I lost my dad due to diabetes in 1996, I was 12. I feel sad on Father's day. Hopefully thi year will be different with being a father.

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  15. Robyn, Thank you for sharing. Your mother was an amazing woman.

    Love and Prayers,

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  16. aw so moving Robyn - a very nice tribute to someone who sounds like a remarkable woman xo

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  17. Dear Robyn,

    Such a loving and poignant tribute to your beloved Mother. I know you will cherish the memories of the better times you shared.

    Your Mother is proud of you, dear lady.

    In kindness and respect,

    Gary

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  18. I am so sorry for your loss, Robyn. Your mother sounds like she was an amazing person.

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  19. I am so sorry to hear your Mom left this world at such a young age. That dang Cancer... Hate that word.

    What beautiful memories you have of your Mom. Wishing you happy thoughts of your Mom today and always.

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  20. My mom, too, died of cancer in 1983 at 44. Not a day goes by that I don't think of her. My heart goes out to you, Robyn. I know how you feel.
    And I also know where you got your looks from! :-)

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  21. She sounds like one fabulous lady, Robyn! Beautiful tribute to your Mom on this special day.
    I miss mine every day too.

    Sending hugs my friend :)

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  22. Stephen, I've been thinking about your sage words - mom was an excellent role model in many ways. It helps to remember that. Thank you.

    PTM, it will most definitely be different for you, in a very good way.

    Thank you, Teri. Love and prayers back to you.

    David, she was a gem. Thanks for your kindness.

    Gary, your warm message means a lot. Thank you.

    Cheryl, and she made it all look so easy. I appreciate your support.

    MyJourney, I can't think of a more hate-able word. Thanks for stopping by and for your message.

    Al, you're a blessed friend. My heart goes out to you too.

    Lexie, I'm thinking of you and sending hugs back to you.

    Love to you all.
    xoRobyn

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  23. I'm so sorry that you lost your mom at such a young age. She sounds like she was an amazing woman, and how admirable that she went back to school to earn her law degree when she was in her forties. A lovely tribute Robyn, from a remarkable daughter. Thank you for sharing her story. I know this must have been difficult for you.


    Julie

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  24. I'm really sorry to hear this. It makes me feel like I take for granted seeing my parents just yesterday for a barbecue. Everyone in my family lives to around 90-95, so I guess I just kind of assume they'll be around another 30 years. But cancer can strike at any moment, without seemingly any rhyme or reason and change all of that in a heartbeat. It's terrible.

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  25. Aww, I'm so sorry you lost your mom so young. I can't even imagine my life without my mom. Hugs to you!

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  26. A moving tribute to your mom Robyn. I'm sorry you lost her when you were so young.

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  27. Beautiful remembrance of your lovely mother. A wonderful way to keep her memory alive.

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  28. A truly uplifting tribute to your mom. She left behind you as her gift and I could not be happier to have been a recipient of her amazing legacy. Hugs!

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  29. This was a beautiful tribute, I am so sorry for your loss. I can't even imagine how difficult that would be.

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