Off Topic Personal

Your Independence

To my American friends…

I just got back to my hotel room after watching Independence Day fireworks. We’re visiting my wife’s family in Chicago, and just like the rest of the thousands of people watching this show, we had a wonderful time watching the pyrotechnic display.

It was beautiful. (That’s one of the photos we took this evening.)

But I wonder how many of these thousands of people actually reflected on the true meaning of today’s celebration.

As each firework was launched from its mortar, we heard a loud boom. Moments later, we’d see a bright light, followed by another boom as the lighted artwork filled the sky.

What ran through my mind is that we’re sitting here, in the greatest country in the world, celebrating with these huge gunshots, but 234 years ago, the bombs were real, and men who had far more guts than I ever will fought vigorously to be free from oppression in all forms — oppression of speech, of assembly, of religion, of happiness, and of prosperity.

It’s because of those men, and the brave women who fought alongside and in support of them, that we


Martha Widawer

I’m not sure what kind of role I play in your online life, so I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been away for a while.

I’ve had to reprioritize.

A few months ago, my mother, Martha Widawer, was diagnosed with a metastasis of a kidney cancer she originally had five years ago. Back then, her kidney was removed and we thought the cancer was gone. When the scans in May showed spots, she knew it was bad.

My sisters and I have been caring for her.

She passed away Saturday night, surrounded by me, my two sisters, several of her grandchildren, her sister Betsy, and my mother’s long-time loving companion Sam.

Her funeral was Tuesday.

I loved my mother deeply and if you have a moment, I’d love for you to know a little about her, and learn what a wonderful, smart, warm, generous and funny person she was. If you’d care to read the Eulogy that I wrote and read for her at her service, you’ll find below.

One other thing…

Cancer is a killer that causes immeasurable pain and suffering. I’ve now lost both my parents, my Aunt Eva and Uncle Eddie, Uncle Carl, Cousin Kenny, Aunt Lilo, and Cousin Alexis to different kinds of cancer. And cancer nearly claimed my wonderful Auntie Betsy. Please support the fight against cancer by making a donation in our mother’s name, Martha Widawer, or the name of someone you love, to this aggressive cancer research foundation:

Click here: Phase One Foundation

When you make a donation online, which can be as little as $10, please ask the system to send a note to me at this address: formartha (at)

I am grateful to you.

Mark Widawer

P.S. I’ll be easing back into helping you succeed with your online business next week some time. My world is a bit upside down at the moment, and I’ll be busy settling her affairs for many months or longer. I appreciate your patience and support.

My Mother, Martha S. Widawer, Ph.D.

Dear Mom,

I think the most wonderful thing you’ve ever said to me, besides the I Love You’s I got every day, was something you said about 3 weeks ago. You said that