jacob moscovitch

"Imma is my superhero, no cape necessary," Simone Moscovitch, my older sister said. After making a new life in the U.S. she raised three kids while working, and led the household, no matter what my father says.

Imma is "mom" in Hebrew, my first language, and the language of my heritage. Throw a global pandemic at Imma and her gloves, wipes, and cleaning station are ready. But, Imma was not ready to say goodbye to her mother who passed alone on April 17, 2020 during Covid-19.

"Goodnight," she said to the old photos of my Grandmother as she walked up the stairs to her bedroom. With each step, she looked back at the candlelit array of pictures and flowers hoping for a response. ⁣

I’ve watched Imma recover gradually. I witness her resilience as she lights the remembrance candle every day. And, I sense her growth as she prays over the Shabbat candles like my Grandmother did every Friday.⁣

"At night, I wake up and I can only think about my mom. It all seems less real knowing she is gone, but I have you guys."

My whole life, Imma has held me. Now, I hold Imma.

On the day Grandma passed, our Rabi allowed my family into the synagogue to recite some prayers her. It was the first time we left the house since early March.

Imma cries at midnight as she watches her mother’s gravestone ceremony in Israel 30 days after burial on May 17, 2020. "I cannot unsee her body falling into the grave," she said of the funeral. In Israel, people are wrapped in gauze with no casket.

Red and blue hues spill onto Imma's bedroom door from her younger daughter's LED lights on May 10, 2020. In Judaism, marking one's door with lamb blood shuns the angel of death.

My parents said goodbye to Israel after they got married. On her one-way flight to Los Angeles, she carried a jumbled archive of family photos. Those photos are all she has of her mother. Here, Imma stands for a portrait after a shower on April 14, 2020.

"You guys are all I need to heal right now," Imma said of the family overtop the hum of Tracy Chapman's "Fast Car" while driving to the beach on June 7, 2020. My family has a collection of songs that we listen to together.

"I didn't even say goodbye" Imma said. "The last thing I said to my mom was goodnight over the phone." Imma did not speak of grandma during Mother's Day on May 10, 2020.

Each morning, Imma used to call my Grandmother. Now, in the morning Imma trims her flowers and hums to herself while sipping her reheated coffee. "Don't photograph me in my robe," she teased on April 10, 2020.

After our daily power walk in the neighborhood, Imma displays a dried plant she collected on May 14, 2020. “You can’t keep up with me,” she jokes, but we both know she is right.

“I wish you could have said goodbye," Imma admitted while standing for a portrait on June 7, 2020. "I regret so much," she said.

Imma told me "I love you" six times on this day as we drove to the pool. Here, Imma floats on her back on May 26, 2020.

In Jewish tradition, family members light a memorial candle non-stop for one year after a death. Every Sunday, Imma makes a new bouquet to accompany the candle.

My whole life, Imma has held me. Now, I hold Imma.

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