It’s been a year since I received the call that would break my heart. I saw it coming. My sweet “little sister,” Sandy Masor Zimmerman, the one who married my cousin Harry who in truth was always more like a brother, had died.
Her illness was unforgiving and in the span of a few short months, she went from being the always optimistic, sunny, fun redhead we knew and loved, to someone beat up by a cruel illness.
She left behind her husband and two boys, Evan and Zack, and her brother Harold and his wife Amy, along with many nieces nephews and cousins.
When I visited her in Los Angeles, she spent a lot of time sleeping. I’d walk around the house, looking at the many photographs that told her story. Most were of her with the people she loved most, her husband and two teenage boys, redheads like her. There were framed black and white photos of her deceased parents, and her one brother as a child, and later with his wife and children. Bookshelves were crowded with photo albums, catalogued with numbers and dates, a visual narrative of a past for a woman who was fighting for her future. Sandy’s presence was everywhere.
The platter of needle pointed mini pastries, textured and beaded, sat on the kitchen table, a wink to her weight watching ways. Cash coupons, rewards for accruing credit card points, were hung from her cupboard. Shopping was her sport and bags filled with sale items from A list stores was to her, a personal triumph. Sandy studied genealogy, and after years of painstaking research into the histories of her and her husband’s families, she had her findings bound into leather volumes. Sadly much of the book was taken up with stories and documents about the Holocaust.
Sandy loved all things Jewish, and was a great supporter and lover of Israel. She led campaigns to raise money for many causes in Israel and encouraged her sons to spend time in the Holy Land.
This year, after we celebrate the Passover holiday together, members of our family will travel to Poland together to retrace many of the steps she wrote about in her book. We will commemorate what must never be forgotten and then travel to Israel. There is comfort in knowing that this is something that would make her smile.