Saturday, December 17, 2016

Ron's funeral - Poem: There He Goes Again

   I kept seeing Ron Abrams everywhere I went. This is common. After my dad died, the same thing happened.

I believe the funeral was a healing experience to most people who were there.

It was both joyful and sad.

Will keep details to a minimum but learned that Ron idolized his late father and like Jack Abrams, became an attorney.

Again, read the obituary note here.

He so loved his grandchildren, all of whom were there, including new baby Tess. 

The amazing thing was that he had spoken to people the very day he died.

Was he saying goodbye? Did he have a plan?

I thought I saw his psychiatrist there when I got out of the car, the bushy-bearded Dr Tom Benfield, but couldn't find him later on. .

If Ron made a promise to someone, he always kept it. And he loved to surprise people! He paddled down the Colorado River, I believe, white-rafting.

I was gonna get to the funeral via Uber, but when I spoke to Carole Hodges, she said she'd pick me up.

Carole's mom is buried in the famous Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Carole got a new SUV and was unfamiliar with how the GPS worked. Here it is poking up its head for air.

We got there on time but couldn't find our way home. Finally she spoke to a live person who guided us back to my house.

Carole is a fantastic person, just like all the leaders at New Directions who go out of their way to help people.

Carole Hodges and Ellen Rosenberg.

As African-Americans, Carole's family has done extremely well. She credited Affirmative Action for its help in getting her family excellent educations. Affirmative Action is no more.

Carole is a retired principal and is very active in many groups that help others. She also plays canasta, like my Gramma Lily did. I can still smell the coffee they drank back on Marlindale Road in Cleveland Heights. 

 Was happy to see the funeral was very well attended.

The rabbi did a wonderful job. Ron wanted us to contribute to his synagogue, so I counted out money from my wallet and handed it to someone named Heller. Heller told me it was he who originally recommended New Directions to Ron.

The synagogue is Mishkan Shalom. View it here. 

Below is a photo from their website. 

Sanctuary at Congregation Mishkan Shalom

Speaking at the eulogy were his children, his best friend from Franklin and Marshall, a tall white haired gent in a yarmulke. Afterward some of the audience members spoke including someone from his Bike Club.

I was the first to speak.

I said, Hi, I'm Ruth and I run New Directions Support Group.

With me are Carole Hodges of our Loved Ones' Group and Ellen Rosenberg. We were very fond of Ron and in fact he's on our Board of Directors.

I frequently spoke to him over the phone. One time we talked and I said, Ron, where are you now?

He said he had been in bed all day ruminating.

Ron, I said, I want you to get out of bed right now, bring your bike outside and ride furiously down the street.

Call me tomorrow and let me know how it went.

Sadly, there are no tomorrows for Ron Abrams.

What have we learned from this?

I think it's wise for us to call people - like Nick, one of our phone greeters - periodically.

And a married couple who fight like cats and dogs.

So many people! So little time.

And yet, as we know, we've gotta make time for ourselves.

Sarah was here for only one day. She had met Ron several times. Here she is making me a cheese omelet. I woke up to the smell of coffee.

Image result for chemex

I bought a car from a Nissan dealership and they tried to rip me off, which I hadn't noticed at the time.

Ron faxed them a note, they argued with him, but he insisted on the original price. "Tenacious" as they pointed out in the eulogy.

The rabbi read a poem about Ron that the rabbi had written. Apparently in their Men's Group, which I know was a comfort to Ron, they each wrote poems.

Ron helped loads of people in our group, including Veyonna. He was a personal injury attorney. Somehow he had a big Korean clientele. Yet none of them were at the funeral. Did they know?

I think Ron would be pleased to know that Shiva will be held on the First Snowfall here in the Philadelphia area. Here's a poem I just wrote about him, followed by a poem for my daughter, who whisked in and out of Willow Grove in a day and a half.


He was there in the Produce Department
weighing oranges in his hands
He stood in line for a cup of coffee
Bald pate shining in the light.

I hoped he'd sit down and we'd
discuss what he'd done and why.

But quickly he strode through the
automatic doors, straight-backed and
clad in a long black coat.

While I watched, The Undertaker
grabbed him by the throat
and the two of them
dissolved into thin air.


Life is compressed like Virginia Woolf
drowning. We listen to The Passion of
Saint John, starring her friend Mark
Padmore as the Evangelist, and
are aghast as Peter denies Christ
three times.

She would never deny me, and I thank
her as we totter, arm in arm, around
the icy block. She gave me her kidney
and I thanked her, as the houses
passed us by.

She began quoting 13 Ways of Looking at
a Blackbird:
I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

She slept in my queen-sized bed,
texting her husband and friends.
When I awoke on the Red Couch, with
The Rockford Files still playing on
Netflix, I smelled the coffee.

Confused, I wondered if I were in
heaven, and knew I was.
I'm so happy I told her as
we sat together sipping
Pumpkin Spice Coffee.

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