Mary Anne wrote:

Dear Ethel,

Of all the lessons I was put on this earth to learn, you have been my most powerful teacher in the life lesson of Acceptance. When I first met you 20 years ago, you had already been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. For all those years, I watched you struggle mightily with it. But I only know it was a struggle from my own silent observation. Not once did you ever break down and complain to me about your illness, although you certainly had enough reason to do so. Every visit, every holiday, every phone call was always about Elliott and me, and what we were doing. You worked very, very hard to spare me a litany of your physical woes, which I know at times were many. To me, you will always be the epitome of "grace under fire."

I will also always be grateful for your loving acceptance of me. I know that deep down you would have much preferred for your son to marry a Jewish woman. I recognize that you had a choice. I know you didn't have to take me into your home, or your family, or your heart - but you did. And for that I will always be grateful.

With love and shalom,

Mary Anne