To know me is to understand my family; therefore, I’m sharing my parent’s wedding picture. I took a photo of the framed image. My parents are no longer with me, but I carry them in my heart.
I’ve always thought I resembled my father, but now I can see my mother in me. I can also see her fears and uncertainties. She had a hard life that later robbed her of her spirit.
Rose Wagshal grew up in a small town, Tilmenowa, in Poland. I don’t know how it’s spelled or if it’s the correct name since I can’t find it anywhere online. I know little of her early life since the story she told me began when WWII broke out right before Hitler invaded Poland. My grandfather booked passage to the United States to find work as a Mashgiach, a Rabbi ensuring a Kosher product. He took my mother with him since her brother was in summer camp. Her mother and brother were supposed to follow, but Hitler invaded. They both died in a concentration camp.
My grandfather left my mother with relatives in Williamsburg, New York, even though she was beginning to lose her vision. Later, I learned she had Retinitis Pigmentosa, a genetic disease. I used to be afraid I would have it. But it’s a recessive disease where both parents have the recessive gene. My mother’s parents were first cousins, so her fate was sealed.
Luckily, she met my father, who was also born in Poland. He married her even though he knew she was losing her sight. I don’t know if he understood she would be totally blind by age 3o, but he was her eyes until she died. Her father remarried and pretty much deserted her.
More unhappiness came her way when her son, my brother, was in a car accident and died after two years in a coma. My parents traveled every month to Boston to visit him until his death. In her eighties, she developed dementia. We had to place her in a nursing home, where she sat alone in the dark, forgetting who I was and living the past in her confused mind.
So, to understand me, you had to meet my mother. She brought me up the best she could with the help of my brother, who was 11 years older than me. I lived through her fears and unhappiness. I hope I brought up my daughters with less fear and uncertainty. Some days, I’m not too sure.

Thank you for joining my blogging challenge. Please visit my fellow RRBC bloggers at https://ravereviewsbookclub.wordpress.com/rrbc-member-chat/

30 thoughts on “RRBC 30-DAY BLOGGING CHALLENGE – DAY 2

  1. donnamanobianco February 1, 2023 / 9:20 pm

    Hi Susanne! Funny thing…I remember reading this post but I guessed I never commented on it. What the heck? Lol! Anyway, we are all products of our environment (and genetics). The good news is you seem to be keenly aware of how your family’s history impacted you. This suggests you were very mindful in the raising of your own children. I can tell you love your daughters dearly and put a lot of energy into your parenting and they are lucky to have you as a parent! I always say, the most important thing for a child’s psychological health is to know they are really, truly loved. And you’ve given your children love in spades! : )

    Best wishes,
    Donna M. Atwood
    D. M. Atwood


  2. Shirley Harris-Slaughter January 26, 2023 / 6:24 pm

    Hi Susanne. Your story is very interesting to me as I love history and family trees. Your mother was so lucky to have your father because he didn’t abandon her when she lost her vision. Thank you so much for bringing us into your world.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 27, 2023 / 3:02 pm

      I never realized how lucky my mother was to have my father until I wrote this blog post. She always complained about him, but my father never belittled her as she did to him. He came from a family who respected each other, but I don’t know how her parents treated her. I love my cousins from my father’s side, but I don’t remember seeing my mother’s family when I was young. Our families play an essential role in how we behave later in life. As I think about this, so much now makes sense.


      • Shirley Harris-Slaughter January 27, 2023 / 4:34 pm

        Susanne, you can get a lot of your answers from your family tree. I found that out, and still learning.


  3. RaveReviewsbyNJ January 5, 2023 / 6:30 pm

    By the way, Susanne… I thought that was you in the wedding photo. You look so much like your beautiful mom!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 7, 2023 / 6:44 pm

      Thank you. I didn’t realize I resembled her until recently.


  4. RaveReviewsbyNJ January 5, 2023 / 6:29 pm

    Susanne, while reading this amazing piece, all I could think was “Please write the book!” What a story this would be! You are sitting on a gold mine, Susanne! Please, please, please write your family’s story!

    Thank you for sharing this. I am so moved by your bravery to put it all out there, and again, this is a jewel. Start researching and get it all on paper.

    Much luck and I can’t wait to see what you are sharing with us tomorrow!


    ~Nonnie Jules

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 7, 2023 / 6:47 pm

      Wow, Nonnie. I don’t know if I can write a book about my life. I’m better at snippets of my life. But maybe if I put all the snippets together. When I write about my feelings, my writing is much better than my attempts at fiction.


  5. patgarcia January 4, 2023 / 7:57 am

    Hi, Susanne,
    Your mother did not have it easy. Yet, she was a courageous person. She raised you and your brother. She didn’t give up until she started having dementia. For that, I feel for her. Sometimes diseases can kill our fighting spirit.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem


    • Susanne Leist January 5, 2023 / 6:15 pm

      I seem to have missed a bunch of comments. They don’t appear beneath my post but only on the comments page on my WordPress menu. I’ve never thought of my mother as courageous since she constantly complained, but maybe she was. She married and had children while losing her vision. I felt she directed much of her frustration at me, but I was a good punching bag, verbally and not physically.


  6. PTLPerrin January 4, 2023 / 12:25 am

    Your parents’ wedding photo is lovely, Susanne. Your mother had many challenges in her life, but she had you and your brother, and so she also had times of joy. Your father must have loved her very much to be her eyes until she died. I look forward to reading more about you and your family. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 4, 2023 / 12:28 am

      And you’ll get your wish, 27 more days of my life. I don’t know if I could do this.


    • Susanne Leist January 5, 2023 / 6:16 pm

      I just found your comment. I must think of the joy she had in her life and not the sorrow at the end.


  7. Linda Mims January 3, 2023 / 11:50 pm

    Susanne, I agree with Yvette! A book might be cathartic, and your mother’s story sounds fascinating. Your whole family’s situation is inspiring!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Susanne Leist January 4, 2023 / 12:27 am

      Wait to hear about my mother-in-law and then my sister-in-law; you won’t believe how evil people can be.


    • Susanne Leist January 5, 2023 / 6:18 pm

      I don’t know why your comment didn’t appear on my post, and it was approved. Thank you. I don’t know if I have a big in me, but for now, I can only manage snippets of my life.


  8. yvettemcalleiro January 3, 2023 / 8:57 pm

    Your mother grew up in a time of hardships, and her plate overflowed with them. Yet, she survived no matter what was thrown her way. Thank you for sharing a snippet of her story with us. Like John and Maura Beth, I think you’ve got a book to write. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Susanne Leist January 3, 2023 / 9:37 pm

      Yes, a book. But this time, I won’t outline it to death like I’ve done with my present WIP, which left me with no desire to write it anymore.

      Liked by 2 people

    • Susanne Leist January 5, 2023 / 6:19 pm

      Thank you, Yvette. I wonder if people would read a book about my life. It might be too depressing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • yvettemcalleiro January 6, 2023 / 7:06 pm

        I guess it would depend on the spin you put on it. I have a feeling one of the themes would definitely be resilience and determination. There are always readers who enjoy reading how others overcame their circumstances. 🙂


  9. Carolyn Page January 3, 2023 / 6:38 pm

    What an incredible story of strength.
    Your insights, I’m sure, will have been, and most certainly will continue to be great support for your daughters. So many hide from the moments in their lives that may appear negative. However, you seem to have not only taken those difficulties and come to terms with them; you have also risen because of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Susanne Leist January 3, 2023 / 9:34 pm

      Thank you. Since I’ve had so many of these difficult moments, they’ve become part of my life and who I am. I might have been happy and cheerful if I didn’t have them. But who likes those types of people anyway?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 5, 2023 / 6:22 pm

      Thank you, Carolyn. I thought I’d replied to your comment, but I don’t see it now. I can’t hide from my negative moments since they are many and have taken prominence in my life, and I must face them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne Leist January 3, 2023 / 5:02 pm

      People have suggested I write a book about my family. I have so much to tell, so I thought I’ll try it out with my friends who follow me every day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • maurabeth2014 January 3, 2023 / 5:22 pm

        Susanne, if your Mother’s story is any example, you should absolutely do it! It will be fascinating!

        Liked by 2 people

  10. maurabeth2014 January 3, 2023 / 8:46 am

    Oh, my goodness, Susanne, what a story! Your mother was a hero, really, to have lived through so much trauma. This is a wonderful post and your love and appreciation of family shines through. You are a strong, talented, and caring woman, and I have no doubt you raised your daughters to the the same. Your post and your Mother’s story will stay with me. Thank you for an inspiring start to my day.

    Liked by 2 people

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