Tribute to Martha back in Brooklyn
I’ve been pretty active on Facebook since 2008 and while I hate social media on many levels I love the “Memories” feature that shares those special memories we’ve created over the years. This morning my memories popped up, and today’s memory gave me goosebumps. A post I had shared and a reminder of a very sad time from 8 years ago. The memory was about a beautiful Mom I knew called Martha. Everyone who knew her can attest that she was a very special soul. She and her family lived in Brooklyn Heights, my neighborhood back then, a very pretty enclave just over the Brooklyn Bridge, and one of the oldest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Known for its tree-lined streets, cracked sidewalks from the tree trunks, the charming red-bricked brownstones, and an awesome view of downtown Manhattan. This colorful neighborhood was full of young families like my own and like Martha’s.
Martha was a young Mom, similar in age to me. She had a beautiful family, married to a great guy, called Tom, and the mother to 2 wonderful young daughters, in their very early teens and a few years on either side of my boys. Martha’s smile and energy came before her every time. She was so full of love, life, and light. You’d always see her bopping around the neighborhood dropping her girls to school and stopping in for her daily coffee at our local, Connecticut Muffin, a very popular chic & shabby casual cafe and a reliable staple in the hood back then. Serving up the best PB on toast, everything bagels toasted w/cream cheese, along with their signature cranberry muffin and many more yummies found inside that small cafe. It was a busy place, on our high street where a lot of us mums frequented it regularly for our daily cup of jo. Unfortunately, it’s closed now. Some of my best memories of Martha, her at the counter ordering her coffee, chatting to the barista and everyone she knew, always in great form wearing a big bright smile on her face. She knew everyone and everyone loved her. I don’t remember Martha ever being heavy in spirit, she had the optimism to beat the band, a fun throaty laugh, and bright sparkling eyes. She made a big impression on me back then and I always enjoyed any reason to be around her. My old friends back in Brooklyn Heights will remember her for the lively annual Christmas party she threw in her beautifully festive brownstone apartment. Or the fresh lemonade she’d serve on her back terrace in the warmer weather. She had an energy that just oozed living life to the fullest.
The memory I had shared 8 years ago on Facebook were sad words about her passing. I was simply saying I would miss her laughs and her smiles around Brooklyn Heights. It must have been particularly wet the day I posted it as I made mention of the rain coming down from the heavens all day long and observing how fitting it was to how we were all feeling that day due to the sad & very sudden loss of our Martha. Let me back up here…..it was a few days earlier, a Friday in the afternoon, and Martha was out of the house, running errands in the neighborhood. Her last stop was at a local deli to pick up some homemade cookies for her daughters. She paid and left the store, not realizing it would be the last walk she ever got to take in this lifetime. The details of her death are tragic and my recollection probably a little out of focus now but suffice to say she was hit by a vehicle and pinned against a wall. A car had veered off the road, mounted the sidewalk, and hit her full-on. The impact and the force killed her. And while I’m not here to rehash those awful memories of that tragic afternoon I was strongly drawn to write about her today. To share these wonderful memories I have of her, of a very special person who had a big impact on so many. There one minute. Gone the next. And a reminder to us all that life is not fair some days and how precious our moments are. Also to share how much of an impact we can make on people. So today in honor of Martha I want to share her spirit and her energy here. How fortunate I was to have known Martha and her beautiful soul.
Her death was such a big blow to the whole community and there was a big sadness around her passing for a long long time. I still find it hard to fathom. Someone so positive to be gone so fast. My fondest memories are from our mornings in Connecticut Muffin along with many more great ones I hold dear. She was a well-loved writer of children’s books with Scholastic and she had the best laugh in town. She was loved by many and brought such amazing energy to everyone she met. She was unstoppable yet 8 years ago her life stopped, taken so tragically and so suddenly. No doubt she has left a huge loss in many people’s lives. A reminder to us all that life is fragile and fleeting. And a reminder to be the best version of yourself every day. To reach out to loved ones and say hi. To live every day with purpose, to make an impact big or small, and to spread the one thing the world needs more of — Love.
It’s a reminder that life is precious and out of our control on many levels. I think of her husband often and her 2 daughters who are now grown up, one in college and one finished, similar in age to my own boys. I can’t imagine the void she has left in many people’s lives, her own family, her siblings, and all the friends I know she touched in the short time I knew her. She was a beautiful force that was taken too suddenly. Heaven must have needed some amazing angel the day they took her. It seems so unfair that someone so honest, so positive and so full of love for life could lose it all in an afternoon.
And so today as I think about Martha, I’m brought back in time. I’m back in Brooklyn Heights, it’s a warm sunny morning, I’m many years younger, the boys are in school, I’m ordering my peanut butter on wholewheat toast, along with my cappuccino in Connecticut Muffin. I’m standing there at the counter beside Martha and she’s all full of her usual chatter and laughter. I’m brought back to sunnier simpler days. A time when our kids were young and innocent, so full of mischief and curious about life. When the world was ours for the taking. When Covid-19 or the words pandemic, lockdown, and quarantine hadn’t existed in our vocabulary. When George Orwell’s “1984” views about a dystopian world seemed so far-fetched. And yet here we are today, our kids are taking their college courses on zoom, being held back from experiencing a normal college existence, were all being kept from traveling and being around loved ones. George Orwell was spot on.
I’m sorry for the loss of Martha’s beautiful soul in this lifetime and I’m sorry for how life is today on many levels but I’m thankful today for seeing this memory and a valuable reminder about living. To recognize how simple it is to make an impression on someone and that if we come from a place of love and give the right energy to those around us we can all be better people.
Thank you Martha! Gone, but never forgotten. Your legacy for living life with passion and energy lives on.