Barbara would have been very happy to have her family, and our friends show up here today. She always loved our events. However, I know she would have much preferred it if we were not outside – it could have messed up her 1940's hairdo.
What got her out, were her grandchildren. Ever since Joel and Jeffrey were born, she and Charles travelled from North Miami to our home to pick them up from school and shower them with an outlandish amount of love and attention.
I saw that she lavished similar attention on her husband, whom she absolutely adored. As you heard from Linda, she was also a very involved mother to Ellen & Linda. According to Ripstein legend, she even ran into a burning schoolhouse to rescue cupcakes for Ellen's first grade birthday party when the school had been evacuated due to a fire.
Unfortunately, this audacity all changed when she suffered a massive stroke 2 ½ months ago. From that time, she was taken to a hospital, to a rehab hospital, and then to the Miami Jewish Home for the Aged. She received very good care at all of the facilities. All of the staff called her Miss Barbara. Just like with her family, she was very sweet to all, and never had a mean word to say to anyone.
One of the things we learn in life is that "timing is everything." This was proven true last Saturday when Joel arrived home from college for his spring break. Linda, Jeffrey, and I took him from the airport to the Miami Jewish Home to see Barbara. This was the last time we got to see her as a family.
On Saturday, Barbara kept on repeating something we had not heard from her in the 2 ½ months since her stroke. As I held her hand, she kept saying over and over again: "I want to go fast," "I want to go fast." Thinking over my last day with Barbara, this mantra was like a prayer she kept repeating. Just two days later her prayer was answered. She went peacefully and with no pain.
I’ll leave more profound thoughts about prayer to the Rabbi's, but it seems to me that when a prayer like that is answered, that this is a reflection of being deserving…. and of having lived a good life. This is clearly reflected in the way Barbara treated and loved her family. May she rest in peace.