My mother died this afternoon.

Jackie and I had a good business meeting on Monday afternoon. We laughed and she was whimsical.

At six p.m. that night, she was pouring a drink and dropped her glass. She said, “I don’t feel well.” By 11 p.m., she was asleep. Mainly, she never woke up.

She died at home.
This was her wish. She had made it very clear to her doctors, to us — and her lawyer made it explicit. She was 85 and died quickly.

I’m sad.

But I also know: This is the opposite of a tragedy.

Where The Apple Falls
Much of what you get with me, I got from her: her admiration of friends (balanced with a fluctuating self-esteem), her lack of a filter (praised as “candor”), a yen for community service (based on a sense of obligation), and more.

Much more. More than I know.

Here is her obituary.
To appear in tomorrow’s Columbus Dispatch:

Jacquelin (Jackie) Fihn Isaac, devoted to her family and appreciated for her efforts in human service, died March 16th of natural causes, embraced at home by her family. She was 85.

Born in St. Louis on July 6, 1927 to Alexander Fihn and Kitty Blumenthal Fihn, “Jojo” (as she was known by St. Louis friends throughout her life) attended Clayton High School and Connecticut College. She moved to Columbus in 1948 for love and life: to marry Arthur J. Isaac, Jr.

Jackie and Artie raised four children: Kitty Isaac Croke, Dory Isaac Martin, Patty Isaac Zimmerman, and Artie Isaac. She is survived by Kitty, Dory and Artie, and their families: Tim Croke, Kevin and Monica Croke, Brian Croke, Alex Croke, Marcia Zimmerman, Joe Martin, Jesse Martin, Sam Martin, Alisa Isaac, Helen Isaac, Duncan Isaac — and Beauregard, the dog she inherited from her beloved older brother, Zander Fihn.

Jackie so admired her friends. They inspired her and filled her with joy and purpose. Any listing of friends here would be incomplete. The family gratefully acknowledges the loving expertise of her caretakers, Krystyna Ganowska and Michela Di Santillo.

Contributions would be welcome to the Arthur J. and Jacquelin F. Isaac Fund at The Columbus Foundation, to Goodwill Columbus, or to the charity of your choice.

And then, as Jackie would have done in your memory, go to Giuseppe’s, have a nice dinner, and raise a glass to your own good fortune. Memorial service Monday, March 18th, 10 am at Schoedinger Mid-Town Chapel.

There will be a “Shiva minyan” — a brief Jewish worship service in my mother’s home, 2688 East Broad Street, northwest corner of Remington Road, Thursday, March 21st at 7 p.m., where I will eulogize my mother. You would be welcome there, as well as at Schoedinger’s, of course. And also:

Please don’t feel obliged to do anything.
Our friendships — however new — are already a great comfort to me.

If a man could drown in condolence,
I might be that fortunate man.