Melissa and Robin say farewell to their mom at Niagara Falls

A few days of Love, Meaning and Farewells

It is a rite of passage when a parent passes away, a truly sad time. Yet for us, it is the best time to reflect on years past, celebrate their lives, and look forward anew.

For those left behind there may be so many meanings when a parent dies. It signifies the movement of time, the end of an era, and the realization of how precious each day is.

The Many Questions

The questions flow too …

Was everything said? Did I tell them I loved them enough? Were they proud of my accomplishments? Will I be able to pass along to upcoming generations all the family stories and the legacy of our family as I now am on the top rung of the family?

These are questions my sister Robin and I pondered. Thankfully, we were able to answer these questions, affirmatively. Now, it’s our turn at the helm.

Saying Farewell with Love

As our final act of love for our mother, my sister and I traveled to our birthplace, Buffalo, New York. We took both our mother and her sister’s blended ashes. Sisters who were ever so connected in life are now bound together in death. Closure.


During the Buffalo visit we enjoyed reminiscing about our very full childhood, neighborhood friends, and places we frequented during our 18 years of life there before we went off to college and never looked back. Even though we had a turbulent childhood, I am so happy that we were born and raised in a community that supported and fostered generations of families, friends and relatives who looked out for each other. Our time as children growing up was full of neighborhood fun. We remember playing on the streets until our parents called us in for dinner. Then we were out again after dinner until dusk. It was care and worry free in those days. These memories came flooding back for us as we visited our old neighborhoods. We thought about the deep roots of many families who still have members living in Buffalo … many left for a time but came back.

Sisters Together

It was so meaningful to take our mother, who we called Nana Pat, and her sister, Aunt Jane, home to their birthplace. This fulfilled my mother’s request to be scattered in Lake Niagara, a favorite place to visit as a family. I guess her love of water and the beauty of the constantly moving falls always attracted her as a sense of adventure. The falls with its incredible power and determination seemed apropos for her final act to ride in its powerful waves and rapids.

It was a gorgeous clear, crisp day. We made our way to a lovely, peaceful spot at the tip of 3 Sisters Island on the American side of the falls. My sister Robin and I boldly found our way around the barrier’s fence. Ignoring the warning signs, we followed a short path down to the water’s edge. We then lovingly and carefully released a portion of the blended forever sisters’ ashes into the flowing waters for one last ride together.

My loving husband David documented the event with my cell phone. Together, we recited several Jewish memorial prayers, Psalm 23, and the poem We Remember Them as we said our last goodbyes. 

It only seems appropriate to scatter the remaining ashes with their parents, Julius and Gertrude Robins, and sibling, Harold Maurice Robins, their only brother, at their final resting place, Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Melissa and David at Niagara Falls

An ultimate closure for us on a long life well-lived, Patricia Robins Gamler 1924-2023 and Jane Robins Goodman 1920-2008. We will always remember you with love and gratitude for the part you both played in our lives.

B’Shalom (in peace),
Melissa & Robin

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