Five Pictures
The Visit

Seventeen Bites of Honeydew Melon


Aunt Ruth and I, Summer 2009

For more than a week, I was reminding myself to write to my Aunt Ruth. I used to call her regularly, but since her 104th birthday last February, I have been afraid to call because I thought I might reach her at a bad time. So I wrote letters and she responded with letters that she dictated to her son.

But that won’t happen anymore because yesterday morning she died.

According to her helper, she ate seventeen bites of honeydew melon for breakfast, dozed off and didn’t wake up again.

When we visited her the summer before last, she said she hoped that she would just not wake up some morning soon. She had had a wonderful life. She was a pillar of her Buffalo, New York community, a beautiful woman, smart in every sense of the word, generous and the matriarch of our family.

My cousin Gerry called yesterday to tell me the news. It’s hard to hear that there is nobody left in your parents’ generation. But what a wonderful, full life she led.

Gerry wonders what will make our big family get together again once we have gathered in Buffalo from around the country to celebrate her amazing life.

I can’t even begin to think about it.


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I am so very sorry. It's difficult to lose anyone at any age. Please accept my condolences. I am the oldest member of my generation (in my family) so I know the contours and frequency of loss.

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