Sunday, August 02, 2009

In Memory of Rochie ע"ה

Tonight, the 13th of Av, is the first Yahrzeit (anniversary) of my sister's passing. Rochie was one of the most beautiful people I have known, inside and out. Perhaps it is cliche to say that God takes the best, but I can't think of another way to put it. Rochie was a model Jew, person, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, and for being a straight out Mentch. She had this special gift of being able to see past frivolity and self interest. She believed in doing the right thing plain and simple, whether or not it gave her more popularity or status did not even occur to her. She lived not for herself, but for her loved ones. Our lives now will never be complete without her love, her unforgettable smile, and a million moments, strengths and selfless gifts that we once took for granted, and now will never be.

On the morning following Shavuos last year, Rochie (who had no serious health issues prior) failed to wake up, possibly due to an aneurysm, causing her heart to go into cardiac arrest. On the way to hospital and in ER the paramedics struggled to keep her heart beating. Eventually they managed to "stabilize" her enough to move her to the CCU, where she remained in coma. The doctors said she needed a miracle, and hundreds of friends and strangers alike prayed for it. For seven weeks we Davened, cried, sang by her side. Hundreds of amazing people blogged and prayed, gathered and prayed, visited and prayed. Many took on resolutions to better themselves to merit her recovery; following in her example to excel in Ahavas Yisrael and to speak favorably of others. Even as she lay in her hospital bed, seemingly powerless, she managed to turn the world upside down. Even when we could no longer hear her reassuring voice, she continued to bring out the best in us, bring us together, helping us see the world through that special scope she had, that special gift.

On the 13th of Av, four days after her son's first birthday, 26 years and 7 months days after God blessed this earth with her presence, she was taken back to His holy abode. The void is overwhelming, her legacy beyond description.

Dozens of people sent in their stories of how Rochie had inconspicuously touched their lives. How she had reached out to them when others would not have thought of it. Rochie was the friend who gave you her all, the one who remembered your birthday, the one who could be there for you when else failed. No one knew she had made so had so many friends and admirers; she never made a deal of it. If she managed to affect the world so much in such a short lifetime, imagine if she was still here, imagine if she was able to continue raise her family and care for others. Without her, the world feels darker, lonelier.

Please do something that would make Rochie happy today. Call someone you've been meaning to call... Offer a smile to someone who can use it... Think twice before giving your opinion on others; Rochie's approach to constructive criticism was so uniquely sensitive; even when it came to shidduchim she couldn't bring herself to speak negatively about others, you had to read in between the lines...

Rochie, we know you are there, listening, as always, forever. Give us the strength, as always, to continue in your example, to reunite us again, with Moshiach. As you believed and waited, so will we… together.

אשת חיל מי ימצא....
בטח בה לב בעלה ושלל לא יחסר
גמלתהו טוב ולא רע כל ימי חייה

פיה פתחה בחכמה ותורת חסד על לשונה
צופיה הליכות ביתה
ולחם עצלות לא תאכל


תהא נפשה צרורה בצרור החיים