Eulogy for Muriel Fischer Rothman
By Steven R. Rothman
August 12, 2021
Cedar Park Cemetery, Paramus, New Jersey
“What are you going to do?”… “What are you going to do?”
Those were my mother’s words to me… on her deathbed.
When I sought to comfort her, telling her how wonderful a mother she had been and how sorry I was she had to go through these difficult last days and weeks.
She would whisper: “What are you going to do?:)”
That was my mother. She was tough. Strong. Funny. Not overly sentimental. Private with her feelings.
THAT is the reason why we’re having this graveside service. Because my mother didn’t want a public fuss made about her.
She repeatedly said– (With that “What, are you kidding me” look)– that she didn’t want any fancy speeches at all!
And so, to honor her wishes, we are speaking about her. Here. (By the way, When I asked her if I could just say that: we loved her and she loved us, she said: No!).
Well, my mother did love us very much! And we loved her very much!
Muriel Fischer Rothman was a Gorgeous, Tough, Elegant, Sharp, Classy, Bronx girl. With a dry and cutting sense of humor.
She tolerated no fools. But she was always there for me in MY life. She always looked after us, saw that we were well fed, well clothed, educated. And that each of us had the financial resources to pursue our dreams—even if it meant us working 60 to 80 hours a week at what we loved or felt compelled to do.
I’ll never forget when I was 29 and told my parents that I was considering running for the position of Englewood Mayor. My dad was surprised and a bit disappointed that I would want to distract myself from what had become a successful little law practice—over the barber shop on Depot Square.
He said “Steven, you can have a nice life doing what you’re doing now.” He had spent his entire adult life working to give all of us financial security and to give us as stress-free a life as he could imagine.
Muriel, on the other hand—-By the way, when we went off to college, she insisted we call her “Muriel”—took the opposite position.
She said: “Steven, If this is important to you, Then you should do it.”
(She wanted me to realize my biggest dreams).
And I remember, in November 1982, when she and her friends drove Englewood Senior Citizens to the polls on election day so they could vote for me for Mayor.
I remember when she was our Englewood Cub Scout Leader. I remember how my friends and everyone else who spent any time with her were so in awe of her, Her elegance, Her beauty, Her strength, Her kindness. Though, she could be a bit “standoffish.” I remember all the meals she made for us And all the holidays, every year, for decades, to give our family a place for–and an expectation of–togetherness and solidarity. And her sitting outside Mr. Dworkin’s house, in her car, as I was getting my clarinet lessons.
Muriel had her regrets–for many years–before my Dad died. They were primarily about her education and the absence of a professional career. But to my great happiness — and hers, In her last years, she expressed her Contentment and Gratitude for her amazing journey.
From the beautiful Bronx girl,–who had lost both of her parents as a very young person,–to her place as the beautiful woman/wife and domestic partner of a powerfully strong, handsome and brilliant, self-made husband;(with whom she said they always had a “powerful chemistry”). That she was grateful to have been able to experience such an incredible life with her “Philly. “And to have given her children so much.
In those later years, —(when she spoke more about her life than ever)—she said that the life she and my father had together, and how well her children turned out, was “more than anyone could have asked for.”
So, my mother passed away, feeling good about her life and her accomplishments! And it was Those Expressions of Her Contentment That gave ME so much comfort and happiness. And WILL, for the rest of my life.
I will miss My Mother! I wish she could have lived with her newly-found contentment, a little longer. (But she was 95 years old, with a physical condition that just wouldn’t allow it).
BUT IN THE END, SHE WAS GRATEFUL FOR HER LIFE! AND THAT IS EVERYTHING!
Goodbye My Muriel. (She used to call me “My Stevie”)
I hope you have peace and contentment wherever you are.
I AM GRATEFUL for all you did for me, for my children and for all my loved ones. And for the love and devotion you showed to ME, for so very long…
Thank you FOR EVERYTHING, My Muriel.
I hope to see you again.