Nitzah Marsha Jospe

Dying of cancer at age 32, she wrote this ethical will to her three small children:

Sunday, Rosh Hodesh Adar 5740, February 17, 1980

I’m afraid Tamar won’t remember me. I’m not even sure what IIan at 4 1/2 will remember — not much I’m sure; and Deena at 7 1/2 may remember some harsh things because for her it has been pretty negative lately, and I’ll try to make things better when I go back home from the hospital, but I find I’m very tired . . . I feel sometimes I could go on forever, and at other times that I wish the end would come . . .

I can’t really tell you what I want for you, because even now I don’t know what I want for myself. What is important is to make each day good and not to say “tomorrow” or “in the future it will be better.” Happiness is a goal, but not something we must have every moment. That is not life.

I want you to be good Jews. It’s something I’ve always been proud of . . . I would like to be able to help you and enjoy you, just as my parents did with me. Since that is not possible, I want you to know how much I love you. I wish you had more memories of me to help you know me.

Sometimes the memories are better than the reality.

The saddest party is leaving you and not knowing how you will develop. I would like to think you will be good, honest people, who have enough self-esteem and self-worth to stand up for yourselves, and not be afraid to say what you think.

Don’t think anyone else is better than you are. You are as good as anyone. Each person is special, and so is each of you; not just to me, but to yourselves.

You, of course, want your own things from your own life, but parents can’t help having dreams for their children.

You mustn’t be bound by what I would like for you. I expect you to go your own way as good people, the best way you know how.