Upon receiving an email invitation to a Celebration of Life for a wonderful woman, the decision to go took some thought. There was no question in terms of wanting to attend; that part was easy. She was a close friend and longtime neighbor of my mom’s. We collectively became her de-facto LA family (and she ours) as her own were in other states. She was included in our holiday celebrations. She traveled the world, so we alway had lots to talk about.
What was the hesitation to attend? The timing and location of the service. Ruth Epstein had made the decision in her early 90’s to move closer to her family in Kansas City. Her memorial service was scheduled over Labor Day Weekend at the home of her sister (who I also adore) in Columbia, Missouri … not exactly close by.
Normally Labor Day would pose no conflicts, but this year is unique. There was the Seattle trip mid-August, moving our offices the following weekend and then Labor Day weekend. Right after that are the Jewish High Holidays immediately followed by our much-anticipated trip to Greece for the hubby’s milestone birthday. And baseball. Always baseball this time of year. Timing is everything … until it’s not.
I looked at it this way: How will I feel on September 3 (the day after the service) if I don’t go. And there’s the answer. Sometimes you just have to make it work. However, not wanting to incur unanticipated and not-cheap additional airfare in the midst of everything, we decided to drive. Not as loony as it sounds. Well, until you factor in not being able to leave until very early Friday morning — our wedding anniversary — for the long drive to be in St. Louis in time for the Cards game Saturday evening. I mean, how could I possibly go all that way and not visit Busch Stadium for the first time???
We did it, all 1,800+ miles, to get to the game. But this post is not about that (to follow). This is about Ruth Epstein. We surprised her sister Bette at the service. And the tears just flowed … in memory of a great lady, a great friend and time passing in spite of whatever we do. And what a joy to put faces with names of friends and family about whom I had heard and many of whom knew my mom.
Below is the most treasured gift given to “GG” — Ruth’s nickname. Her seven great-grandchildren did this finger-painting — each one chose a color to form the heart.
Below is the most wonderful memory of Ruth. She invited the hubby and me to dinner with my mom to thank us for hosting her so many times. Sister Bette was in town and it happened to be Ruth’s birthday. I changed the restaurant at the last minute to Piccolo Paradiso in Beverly Hills. Unbeknownst to us, the restaurant is a go-to spot for the gentlemen in the photo. I spotted them and the hubby went over to ask if they would accommodate Ruth with a photo on her birthday. Not only did they say yes, but they came to our table! God bless you, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner — you’re all class.
To you, Ruthie — may you rest in peace. We loved knowing you and thank you for your friendship, your laughter and your love.
Ruth Shapera Epstein April 4, 1921 ~ June 2, 2018