Rabbi Ken Chasen

Allan Axelrad

Stephen Axelrad

Karen Axelrad

Eve Axelrad

Joel Axelrad

Eulogy for Harriet Axelrad

Delivered by Stephen Axelrad

What is it I can say to you about my Mother, Harriet that you don't already know?

I don't have to tell you about her generosity in giving so much of herself to so many. In all likelihood, you have experienced that yourself, first hand. The more Harriet gave of herself, it seems, the more of herself she had to give, like a horn of plenty.

She was always beautiful, energized by an inner peace and confidence that held up to every trial life could offer. She was a fast learner, graduating from High School at 15 and College at 19.

She was curious about everything and she was in love with life.

What I can tell you is that she died in the same manner that she lived. I wonder if this is often the case. It was only about six weeks ago that she learned that she had cancer and that it was incurable. She expressed regret that she would not live to be 90, as she hoped, but she did not look back after that.

She refused higher doses of pain medicine because she did not want to dull her senses or lose clarity.

In those six weeks, up until the final two days, her love of life was enhanced by the knowledge that she would soon leave it. Her curiosity about everything was more vivid than ever. A rose in the garden she could see from her bedside was a wondrous thing. A book that she could read, to learn some small new truth, was more worth reading than ever.

A friend or family member visiting her was a miracle of emotional warmth and the contact was ecstatic.

Even while her body became weaker and turned to skin and bones, she became more accessible than ever, exuded more warmth than ever, became more Harriet than ever.

From what deep resource did she draw such inner strength? That is her secret, and she took it with her. Nevertheless, she inspires all of us, and that we shall never will be able to forget.