70 Years Together, Then 40 Days Apart

70 Years Together, Then 40 Days Apart

By Michael A. Morris  | AJT Publisher

Michael Morris Arms Folded
Michael Morris

Have you ever seen glacier calving? Glacier calving is when a massive glacier breaks apart, and the piece that breaks off disappears from the world, quickly.

Recently, a glacier the size of Manhattan calved, and it was captured on video. It is an astounding, memorable and impactful sight (you can view it on YouTube).

My family has just experienced a calving.

My aunt and uncle Beatrice and Martin Smith were married for over 70 years, a noteworthy accomplishment. Their crowning achievement is surely the children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and extended family they raised and nurtured through the decades of their lives. Notwithstanding the love and care that emanated from them, a love that was felt the moment you were within their presence; one defining characteristic of their marriage is that they did not argue.

Not one family member can remember a single argument, with each other or with a family member. Not one, ever. A marriage like this comes few and far between. It is something to be cherished.

On Sunday, Dec. 28, Beatrice Smith did not wake up. The matriarch of the Smith and Marcus family passed quietly in her sleep. Our family calved.

Forty days later, from a chapter reminiscent of “The Notebook,” Martin took his leave. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that my uncle was merely following my aunt as soon as possible. After 70 years, not only did he miss her, but he knew he needed to be by her side, whatever her task may be.

They both passed as they had lived, peacefully, with no regrets and with family by their side. Again, the family calved. An enormous piece of the bedrock of our family quickly and quietly slid from our everyday lives.

To their children, Larry Smith and his wife, Linda; Debbie Smith and her husband, Joel Lobel; and Mindy Landau and her husband, David, I am honored to reflect upon your parents. As role models to our entire family, your parents will live with us for many more decades.

To the grandchildren, Jason (and Allison) Smith, Sara (and Evan) Loft, Brian Smith, Marisa Landau and Alex Landau, you are entrusted with their legacy. You are in the unique position to ensure that the values you learned from Poppy and Nanny will continue in the family from generation to generation.

To the great-grandchildren, Abigail and Jordan Smith and Dylan and Emerson Loft, it is your job to think of your great-grandparents often, and every time with a big smile, as you did when you were with them, because they will be with you always.

To the extended family — that would be the cousins, the surviving brothers on both the Smith and Marcus sides, nieces and nephews, and, yes, more cousins — let us look forward to keeping the family together through frequent gatherings at weddings, births, b’nai mitzvah and cousin reunions — as we have in the past — knowing that we will be celebrating, in spirit, with our beloved Bea and Marty.

As emotional as the past week has been, a glimmer of an idea has emerged (no doubt, a seed planted by my aunt and uncle as we sat shiva). Our paper is a community resource for news, information and simchas. I invite any family who is celebrating an anniversary of 50 years or more to share with us. We would be proud to herald an announcement to the community.

Not only does such an anniversary merit recognition, but such declarations send positive ruach rippling through the community.

It is both sad and uplifting when l’dor v’dor physically enters our daily life. Shalom.

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