the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Sophia’s Mom

Sophia’s mother passed away on Tuesday. Today is the funeral. It was unexpected, since it was her husband who was bedridden.

Fanya had an interesting and adventurous life, which took her from the horrors of war-torn Soviet Union to present-day Los Angeles, in order to be close to her only child, Sophia. Fanya was so proud when she became an American citizen.

The love of her life was her husband, Vartan. She met him in Odessa, Ukraine, where he was her doctor. They had a long and passionate relationship. Fanya and Vartan were inseparable. When Vartan grew ill six months ago, everyone thought it best to put Vartan in a convalescence home. We told her that it would require too much work. She refused to discuss the issue. Despite having an aide, and the help of her family, Fanya was her husband’s primary caregiver, dealing with all the physical strain and lack of sleep. Even as we saw her weakening from the stress, she refused to leave her husband’s side.

Yesterday, Sophia told Vartan the news of his wife’s passing. He is very distraught, especially about being too ill to attend the funeral.

Out of a total coincidence, my mother had a flight coming to visit us today in LA, so she will be attending as well.

Fanya was a bigger-than-life woman. She was tough in spirit, but also extremely caring to others, and will be very very missed.

If you want to send a message to Sophia, you can do it here or send me an email.


  1. mary

    I’m so so sorry to hear this news. My thoughts are with Sophia, Vartan and the whole family. I lost my own mother just last month. Sophia, may the cherished memories of your mom bring you some comfort while you grieve. My best to you all.

  2. Angel Smith

    I’m so sorry…please pass on my sympathies to Sophia.

  3. MetroDad

    Deepest condolences, Neil. To you, Sophia and your entire family. Thoughts are with you.

  4. Kerry

    Oh wow. I’m really sorry.

  5. magpie

    Such a sad turn of events. My thoughts are with you and Sophia, and Vartan. All best.

  6. Ellen Bloom

    So sorry for your loss. Please give Sophia and the rest of the family my condolences.

  7. TorontoPearl

    Oy, my heart hurts for you all. My sincerest condolences to Sophia, Vartan and to you, Neil.

    No doubt Sophia’s mother was a special woman — she raised a very special daughter.

    May you be comforted among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem, and may you only know from simchas from now on.

    Sending hugs your way…

  8. sizzle

    My heart breaks for Sophia. Please send her my love. Take good care of each other.

  9. Ann's Rants

    Sounds like an incredible bond. Sweet tribute. Again, so sorry.

  10. wendy

    so, so sorry. Love and healing to you both.

  11. Alison

    My condolences. I’m so sorry, Sophia and Neil.

  12. OHmommy

    Sophia & Neil – I am so sorry for your loss. What an incredible relationship. Much love.

  13. Mik

    Our Deepest condolences, to you both.

  14. Danny

    Thinking of you both today. It’s so very hard losing a parent.

  15. Jennifer

    My goodness, Neil. Such a shock! My heart goes out to Sophia, and to her father. And to you, of course. Godspeed.

  16. Aunt Becky

    Sophia, I’m so very sorry for your loss. Your mother was an amazing woman. xoxo

  17. CarlaDelvex

    My thoughts are with you all at this sorrowful time.

  18. Irina Tsukerman

    Sophia, so sorry for your loss. My sincere condolences, and may your mother’s family be always a blessing to you.

  19. Nance

    Deepest sympathy for your profound loss, Sophia. And, Neil, for you, too. I know that when Sophia is sad, you are too. I hope you can help to comfort each other.

  20. Maggie, dammit

    Sophia and Neil, I am so very sorry for your loss.

    This is a lovely little slice of life. You honor her.

    Much love.

  21. anymommy

    I am thinking of you, Sophia and your families. I’m so sorry.

  22. Knadele

    All I can say is that even though it will never be erased completely, time will soften this raw pain.

    Take care of each other.

  23. Di

    I am so sorry. Strength to you both in the days ahead. So very sorry.

  24. Juli Ryan

    My heart goes out to Sophia and Vartan. So sorry.

  25. Amy B.

    Thinking of you…

  26. Jane

    So sad, especially with Vartan being unable to attend the funeral. My thoughts are with you all.

  27. Kathryn (Kat1124)

    Sophia, I’m so sorry for your loss. This has been a difficult year for you and Neil, and for your parents. My condolences to all of you.

  28. Sheryl

    I read your announcement on Twitter, but didn’t comment because, as much as I love Twitter, it seemed a fleeting interaction for such a grave matter. My deepest sympathy to you, Sophia and her father. Peace.

  29. Elaine

    I’m so so sorry to hear this. My deepest condolences.

  30. Eileen

    My deepest sympathies, Sophia and Neil.

  31. SciFi Dad

    I am very sorry for your loss. My deepest sympathies.

  32. Major Bedhead

    I’m so sorry, Neil. Much love to you, Sophia and Vartan.

  33. shiny

    I’m sorry to hear such tragic and sudden news. My mother also died very unexpectedly, and I can only imagine that this is quite a shock to Sophia and Vartan as well as for you. You’re all in my thoughts.

  34. Ninotchka

    So sorry for your loss. You have my prayers.

  35. McKenzie

    I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you have so many thoughts and prayers about you during this time.

  36. Mocha

    That was really a beautiful tribute and an introduction of Fanya to us, Neil. You and Sophia and Vartan will be in my thoughts. Really very sorry for this.

  37. Headless Mom

    Much love to you both during this difficult time, and especially to Vartan.

  38. headbang8

    Vartan must be devastated. Our heartfelt condolences to him and Sophia in their grief. I trust that breaking the news of her mother’s death to her father was not too great a burden fopr Sophia. One can imagine few other more difficult tasks.

  39. gorillabuns

    Sophia, I am so very sorry. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers.

  40. maribeth

    So sorry for your loss. We are thinking of you and Sophia and your family.

  41. churlita

    I feel so sad for you and Sophia. I’m wishing you two all the strength you’ll need to deal with your loss.

  42. tiff

    You have my deepest condolences. Prayers and good thoughts to all of you.

  43. Heather

    I am very sorry to hear the sad news. My thoughts and prayers are with you both.

  44. sarah

    I am so sorry for your loss, Sophia and Neil. Your family is in my thoughts & prayers. I hope you’re able to find peace through happy memories, and the comfort of loved ones around you during this time.

  45. Elise

    How awful. You’re all in my thoughts.

  46. jen

    I am very sorry for your loss. great picture of them! May you all find the strength to keep going and remembering the good memories with her.

  47. Nat

    I am so sorry for your loss.

  48. Finn

    Sophia, sweetheart. I just got back and read this. I’m so sorry. I know she is with you, watching over you always.

    ((hugs)) My thoughts and prayers and strength are with you. xo

  49. Otir

    I was not reading blogs recently, so I was shocked and saddened to read the news today. My heartfelt condolences to Sophia and you.

  50. Jody

    My deepest sympathies to Sophia. Your mother sounds like a true aishes chayil (woman of valor). May she be at peace. She is truly loved.

  51. Deb

    She sounds like an amazing person. What a fighter. Sophia, I’m so sorry for your loss. You too, Neil.


  52. Deb

    (And to Sophia’s father, too. Duh. Was momentarily stricken from sadness. Words, they aren’t always my friends.)

  53. Susanne

    I am sorry to hear about the loss, my condolences to Sophia and family.

  54. Christine

    Sophia~ I am so sad to hear of your mother’s passing. There are no words. I’ll be thinking of you and your family.

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