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Memories of You

Updated: Jan 17, 2023

Here's a poem written by my son Yitzi Gittelsohn. My additions to the poem about my dear friend Lisa are in blue. Thank you Yitzi for helping me to form my thoughts. Readers are invited to add more comments.

Simchat Torah: You left this world on the most joyful day of the year

On the holiday of singing and dancing

When one cycle ends and the next begins

When one leader dies and a whole new world is born

And you loved singing and dancing

With your exuberant energy

You spread vibrancy, a fullness of life, to everyone around you

Everyone could feel your care, your love, your passion for life and for your loved ones

You listened to all my songs

Words in blue from Ellen Gittelsohn

You said the words “I love you” more than anyone I know.

In your Washington Heights, New York City apartment we enjoyed our visit with Kate, our friend from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, while listening to Stevie Wonder music and dancing.

Stacey and You introduced my mom to Joni Mitchell

When she was a teenager and lonely in Morrisville, Vermont

Having moved from New Jersey

Like you moved from New York

To a town with one other Jewish family

You listened with her to The Blue Album

In pajamas, drinking hot chocolate

You showed her how to be cozy in the cold

Blue songs are like tattoos

Your song is like a tattoo

For the melody of your life will never leave my mom’s heart

Or anyone else who you touched with your warmth

You showed me a photo of triangle tattoos that appeared on your friend’s back. You were sure about a UFO connection. The next day I found a red triangle tattoo on my forearm that stayed for six weeks. You called me immediately after I texted you a photo. Now I’m wondering whether it’s from a UFO or if the channel of extraterrestrial, beyond the veil, communication opens up through friendship with you.

She was friends with you for 50 years

What a deep, long, nourishing knowing of a kindred soul

There are so few people who we share that with in this brief existence

What a wonderful gift

You have given her

And everybody you graced with your presence

You recently described our friendship as being like the children’s book Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobby. Puddle appreciates the gifts of home and Toot sends Postcards (or texts) from worldly adventures. Toot thinks of Puddle while appreciating the gift of new experiences and Puddle thinks of Toot while appreciating the love and warmth of home.

Although I was very comfortable with you sitting in my kitchen chair describing your adventures while I cooked for you, you inspired me to shed shyness and get out and experience the world including traveling to other countries and going with you to Isis Oasis in Northern California where the owner believes she is Cleopatra reincarnated She offers guests unforgettable hugs from her Ocelot who sits in your lap and wraps declawed paws around your neck. What an experience.

What a wonderful gift you have given your children

Who you loved with a tenacity, a dedication, that forged a home where they felt held

What a wonderful gift you have given the world

By being your singing, dancing, joyful, loving self in all its fullness

We both enjoyed teasing each other about our insecurities. You blamed me for bad weather and other situations beyond my control. I blamed you, in jest, for saying and doing all the things you were afraid you said and did that could be judged or hurt someone’s feelings. What a relief to laugh about feelings of guilt.

You have a great sense of humor.

Each year, on Simchat Torah, I’ll remember you

And how you said goodbye on the most joyful day of the year

When everything ends and starts anew

The joy of letting go, the joy of all you’ve been, the joy of all you will be

In our hearts, like tattoos, you’ll be beautiful

And true

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