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The Infinite Millie

Millie's granddaughter, Shoshi Dresselhaus Cooper, tells everyone about the finite and infinite Millie.

Published onMay 15, 2018
The Infinite Millie

Shoshi Dresselhaus-Cooper
Unveiling Ceremony

Photo Credit: Geof Cooper

Seeing all of you here, I can’t help but think — Millie has brought us all together, again, just as she always used to.

Looking at this headstone, I’m reminded of something my grandmother liked to say, to me — especially when she was overworked. “Shoshi,” she told me, “one thing at a time!  Millie is finite.”  

Millie mentors myself and my sister.

She always said that.  “Millie is finite.”  All the time.

Looking at the headstone, seeing the dates written there, drives that home.  My grandmother was right — Millie is finite.  

But, I’d argue that, in some ways, Grandma was actually wrong, because her memory and her legacy make her infinite.

Since February, all of us have felt the influence of both the infinite and the finite Millie.  We have cried over the finite Millie; we have felt her loss in our daily lives, and we’ve missed her words of comfort and wisdom.  Scarcely a day has gone by in which one or the other of us hasn’t thought, “I should ask Millie about this” — and then remembered.

Millie and I, shortly after I was born

But the infinite Millie has been with us, too.  We’ve felt her guiding us, when we tackle a problem and think, “Actually, maybe I should think like Millie, and do this.”  We’ve repeated her comforting words in our minds, when we push ourselves to do better and advance science in society.  We’ve remembered her mentoring and passed it on to others.  And that is what makes her infinite — and I mean real infinity, not just an extremely-long-but-ultimately-finite length of time — for as we continue to spread Millie’s teachings and compassion and legacy, we keep her alive beyond any single lifespan or generation.  We spread her down the generations.  We spread her across the world.  

And that all starts with us, gathered here, today.  Each and every one of us.

We make her live.  We make her infinite.

And we must strive to keep doing so.  Every day we advance science and discover new and incredible things — we make Millie infinite.  Every day we help another person to achieve their dreams— we make Millie infinite.  Every time we do our part for the world and for our community— we make Millie infinite.

In our prayers and memories, today, will honor both the finite Millie, and the infinite Millie.  May we help to spread her words and her message and her mentorship to generations to come.  May we continue to make Millie infinite.


Millie and I beside the grave of Millie's grandmother (whom Millie is named for). Photo courtesy of Shoshi Dresselhaus-Cooper

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