Unlike the funeral for her husband, Sophia Rivkin’s family gathered directly at the cemetery for her burial service.  We came from having brunch together.  After the funeral, family and friends gathered for about three hours on the patio outside her apartment building.  Sophia would have been pleased by the love and affection among her children and grandchildren.  Perhaps even more than the poetry and art she left behind, family is her legacy.  No speculation about it, she did enjoy their many visits in her last months, including meeting an incoming family member, Anne Mei’s partner Katie, when we visited in June.

The words of the poet Yehuda Amichai capture this day.

Near the cemetery you always find stonecutters and gardeners.
Near the courthouse, lawyers’ offices and phone booths.
Near hope, plenty of despair, and around the train station, hotels.
And in the neighborhood of love, words like “I love you,”
“I love you too,” more binding than any marriage vow.

Among the many acts of love this day, I was profoundly touched when her uncle Carl Rivkin gave Anne Mei Sophia’s wedding ring to keep as a remembrance.  Anne Mei was Sophia’s only grand-daughter.  They had a special bond.


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