November 20, 1940--June 26, 2014
Virginia "Ginger" Hirschfeld, age 73, died at her home in Jackson, Wyoming, on June 26, 2014, after a five-year struggle with breast cancer.
During my 40 years as a pediatrician, I met thousands of mothers and hundreds of grandmothers. Almost all were caring and capable; many were excellent. But the one whom I will always consider to be the role model for all mothers and, more recently, for all grandmothers is the one I have known the longest—my wife, Ginger. Her commitment to our children's and, more recently, our grandchildren's well-being was absolute and unwavering to the end. It was obvious that her intense involvement, total unselfishness and dedication, and infinite patience were provided not from a feeling of obligation, but because this was what she most enjoyed in her life. And their enjoyment of her was, therefore, appropriately reciprocated.
Our seven-year-old granddaughter described Ginger in a child's honest way:
"My grandma, Mom-Mom, is a very special person in my life. She makes me feel good when I don't feel so good, she always plays with me, she roots for the 49ers and I do too. Some of the things we do together are shopping, playing, laughing, skiing, sledding, going to movies, and we talk a lot. She makes me feel silly, happy, special and secure. As you can see, Mom-Mom is a very special person in my life."
Shortly before Ginger's death, our 42-year-old daughter sent her the following note:
"Mom, you're amazing. I can call you up out of the blue, and before I get two sentences out, you already sense my mood. And whatever it is, you're there to talk it out or put it in perspective. And that means everything. There's no one I'd rather laugh with, tell everything to, or solve the world's problems with. Lots of people have moms, and lots of people have good friends. But only a lucky few have both in the same wonderful person, which makes me extremely grateful…and makes you, well, amazing."
Our grandchildren were fortunate to have their grandmother for eight years. Our children were very fortunate to have their mother for forty plus years. I, of course, was the most fortunate—my wife for fifty years.
Jim and Ginger Hirschfeld and their children, Matthew and Kristin, lived in Boise from 1974-1987 where Jim was a practicing pediatrician.
Published in Idaho Statesman on July 6, 2014