Susan 馃悵 Rooks, The Grammar Goddess

4 years ago 路 3 min. reading time 路 visibility 0 路

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Acts of Kindness

Mo act of Kindness,

, Nomatter how small,

is ever Wasted.
On Friday, March 17, 2017, Marcia Turesky Rooks died. She had lived a wonderful life, and she died just six weeks past her 100th birthday.

She was my mother.

And while her death was a blessing, as she'd gone rapidly downhill after her momentous birthday, her dying on that day was also remarkable, coming just a couple of hours before the 29th anniversary of her beloved husband's (my beloved dad's) death: March 18, 1988.

We all wonder if she was waiting for that specific day to join him.

But the date also gave various family members time to properly mourn and still go on with plans that had been made months ago. It was a kindness no one could have scripted or expected.

There is a family wedding (my sister-in-law's family) being held this coming weekend in Philadelphia, and had my mother died much later, many of their family would not have been able to attend the wedding. As I write this, I know they're all packing to head to Philadelphia and rejoice at the happy occasion.

My second daughter, Ketzirah, was in Connecticut attending and teaching at a Kohenet training (of future Kohanot), and she had planned to return to D.C. on Sunday. Due to the timing of the funeral (Monday, March 20), she was able to simply stay here one more day and officiate at the graveside service.

But getting from western Connecticut to Marblehead, on the northeast coast of Massachusetts, meant renting a car, something one of her Kohenet friends -- Mimi -- didn't want Ketzirah to have to do. So Sunday afternoon, Mimi drove her up there, going about 45 minutes out of her way each way (she lives near Boston) to drop Ketzirah off at my brother and sister-in-law's (Jim and Nancy's) house.


Sunday night, Nancy and Jim's younger daughter, Emily, who also lives in Marblehead with her husband and two kids, held a pre-funeral dinner at their house, a sort of Shiva before the funeral, something that is normally done afterwards for seven days. She cooked, and we all ate and drank, telling stories of our growing up with my mother, and enjoying being together. Cousins who hadn't seen each other in years had time to catch up, and the four great-grandkids played in the living room and blew off some steam.


Sunday night, since Jim and Nancy's older daughter, her husband, and their two kids were staying there, Ketzirah and I stayed at Nancy's sister's summer house, just around the corner. We had the gorgeous water view, the calm of just two people being in the house, and time to reflect on the recent past and the future without my mother.


The weather was spectacular for the funeral, sunny and almost warm. Having my daughter officiate was heart-warming and more special than I can say. Jim gave a great eulogy -- and got us laughing a couple of times -- while my eulogy got me and a couple of others crying, something I did not expect. The four great-grandkids, ranging in age from about 4 to 8, behaved wonderfully. While they couldn't have had a clear idea about what was going on, they recognized it was a solemn time.

After the short service, the other adults took the kids on a much-needed walk around the cemetary, looking at headstones of those in our families. Ketzirah and I stayed behind, watching the dirt being shoveled onto the casket, and for whatever reason we sang a hymn we both knew called "Oseh shalom bimromav," one of those I always loved and one of the few I could sing from memory. It's traditional to sing it at funerals, so we had a few special moments together, just the two of us.

We all shared a good meal afterwards, and then the last act of kindness -- at least for me -- happened when Jim and Nancy drove Ketzirah to Boston's Logan Airport so she could finally catch a plane home. Why is that a kindness? Because I purely hate driving anywhere near Boston, and this was a Monday so there would be a lot of traffic. Thanks to them, I was able to drive straight home (a two-hour trip), arriving more-or-less calm and collected.

They say it takes a village to raise a child. I know it takes a family coming together to bury a loved one and care for those remaining.

Marcia Turesky Rooks
February 7, 1917 — March 17, 2017

May her memory be a blessing
79925 UTX oT
(zekher tzadik livrakha)

I am grateful for all the kindness shown over those two days.


Please share your thoughts here.聽

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馃悵 Fatima G. Williams

4 years ago #23

Susan Rooks My heart goes out to you and your family. I see your Mom was so wonderful that she had such a beautiful funeral with all the family around. Send offs are so hard but the memories are eternal. My prayers for you and your family.

Ken Boddie

4 years ago #22

Here is a poem I wrote last year for another occasion. I hope it brings you some comfort, Susan, as you ponder over your loss in the days and months to come. Grief never leaves us, She answers not our why's, She hugs us like a shadow, And refuses our goodbyes. She's there lest we forget, When our loved ones slip away, That their spirit lives in what we do, And everything we say.

Phil Friedman

4 years ago #21

Sincerely sorry for your loss, Susan.

Lisa Gallagher

4 years ago #20

I'm so sorry for your loss Susan Rooks. This is a great tribute to your mom and family. The irony of your parent's anniversary. I'm going to guess your mom was an awesome woman just like her daughter! It doesn't matter how old we are or how old are mom's are when they pass, we still feel like a child grieving the loss of our moms. Grieve when you must and don't beat yourself up over it when the tears may come flooding. They say tears are healing. I'm happy you had so much time with your mom!

Sarah Elkins

4 years ago #19

It is a special study of human nature to observe how people behave at special occasions like weddings, births, and funerals. I'm so glad you had such kindness in your life as you said goodbye to your mother, Susan Rooks. Thanks for sharing.
No doubt she left very good feelings Susan Rooks , thank you for sharing them.
Salem. I used to take my kids on bike rides every week to Marblehead. I used to tell them we were lucky we didn't live there because it meant we had somewhere nice to go.
Many thanks for sharing my post, Milos Djukic! I hope you know I appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Where do you live, Joyce \ud83d\udc1d Bowen? I grew up in Marblehead, and left it when I turned 18. Gorgeous town.
Thank you, Javier \ud83d\udc1d beBee, I appreciate that.

Javier 馃悵 CR

4 years ago #13

Very sorry for your loss
I live right next door to Marblehead. Your mother will be in my thoughts.
Joyce \ud83d\udc1d Bowen! Thanks so much for sharing my post; I really appreciate it.

Cyndi wilkins

4 years ago #10

Yes...He has been reunited with my mom...She passed almost fourteen years ago and not a day went by that he did not mourn her...So I am happy for them both;-) Knowing and believing that makes my heart feel a little lighter. Sounds like your mom had a wonderful and very full life...Now reunited with her beloved too...May we all be so lucky;-) Next time you come this way, I'd love to meet for lunch or something...perhaps a walk around Fort Sewall with a stop at the Barnacle for the obligatory lobster roll;-) The summer is so beautiful out here on the edge of nowhere!
Oh my, Cyndi wilkins! Who knew? I grew up in Marblehead and left it at 18, returning sporadically when I had to. Gorgeous town, out on the edge of nowhere! Interesting that you believe your dad chose his date; I will always think my mom tried to do just that, falling just a couple of hours short. But if there's anything to the idea of an afterlife, I know she's with my dad, and your dad is with . . . your mom?

Cyndi wilkins

4 years ago #8

My heartfelt condolences for your loss Susan Rooks....I had no idea our connection was so close...I live in Marblehead and I'm still in the neighborhood I grew up in;-) Such a beautiful town...We just laid my father to rest at Waterside Cemetery just after the New Year...I feel very strongly as well that he chose his "moment of departure." Had he left us any sooner, many holiday plans would have had to be rearranged...He would never want to be an inconvenience;-)

Pascal Derrien

4 years ago #7

Very sorry for your loss Susan Rooks it is never easy
Since my mother and I had a somewhat difficult relationship, Deb \ud83d\udc1d Helfrich, I was surprised to find I was emotional at the funeral. I guess, in the end, she was still my mother, no matter our differences.
Thank you so much, Laurent Boscherini.

Laurent Boscherini

4 years ago #4

Dear Susan Rooks , sorry for the loss of your Beloved Mother . Accept my deepest condolences. Her legacy is your family so gifted and united, full of kindness and pride.
Thanks, Paul \. I appreciate that and you.
Thanks, Kevin Pashuk. It was easier because of her age, of the life she lived, and of the pain at the end. Easier. Not easy.

Kevin Pashuk

4 years ago #1

Susan, Sorry to hear of your loss. You have beautifully captured the preciousness of family coming together in remembrance of a loved one. This brief account will be a treasured capture of a significant moment in your family's history. Thank you for sharing it with us.

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