We woke up on Sept. 18 to a world without Ruth Bader Ginsberg. I lost another piece of my heart, similar in proportion to the one I lost when my mother died. I never met RBG, but I knew her.
Like my mom, she was small but mighty. Also like my mom, she took care of us. She fought for justice literally until the end of her life — especially gender equality.
I will do my very best to keep her memory alive for my grandchildren as I do with their own great-grandmother. I want them to always know how both of these women have influenced their lives — one in a quiet everyday sort of way and one in a way that will always
affect their place in the world. Although an entire country is mourning her death along with me, I have been feeling incredibly lonely.
Back in the day, there was a television show called “Queen for a Day.” Obviously, times have changed, and gender lines are not always as clear cut, but the show ended every day with Jack Bailey saying: “Make every woman a queen for every single day.” Its heart was definitely in the right place during that period in history, and it truly made steps in recognizing the importance of women’s roles as well as carving out a beginning for reality TV.
My dear LA friend, Maureen confided in me that she and her sister used to pretend that they were on that show when they were little girls and that she never got to be queen. Well, that was all I needed to hear. At her next birthday, boy, was she ever queen for a day and I have been buying her queen-themed gifts for the last 35 years.
Once, when she visited my home, I gifted her with a solar powered Queen Elizabeth statuette, who exercises her royal wave all day long. Maureen decided to leave it at my house “to visit” whenever she came back (may have been her kind way of saying “quit buying me queen stuff”) and the queen immediately began holding court on my kitchen windowsill. My daughter-in-law bought me the queen’s solar powered Corgi to stand next to her and wag. My sister bought me a Marie Antoinette salt and pepper shaker, separated by lifting off her head — also on the windowsill.
You can see where this is going, as well as my apparent illness when it comes to themes. (I also obsessively love to make my family and friends wear crowns. I have a supply for every occasion)
Imagine my delirium when, during my hunt on the internet for all things RBG, I found a figurine of her — black robe, lace collar with a crown on her head! I cannot wait to place her where I can see her every day — you know where — reminding me constantly that although she is gone, her work is not done. It may seem like an insignificant thing but suddenly I am a little less lonely. She may not have been royalty in the dictionary definition of the word, but in my book, there was no one more noble.
RBG died on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and according to tradition, a person who dies on this holiday is a “tzaddik — a person of great righteousness.” And to “crown” someone is “to invest them with regal dignity.”
Righteousness and dignity — words that perfectly describe two of the most amazing people to influence my life. And, I just realized that I need to add a likeness of my mom to my windowsill as well.