By Irene Schmoller, Cousin of GSN Founder Wendy Stern
Wendy, your story is my story. Not as fully, not as painfully, not as reaching down to the very core of my being. But I was there that summer, I held Noah, I smelled his sweet tender babyness, I saw him laugh, I saw how his grandparents adored him, how you and Brian were awed by that twinkle in his eye. I was also there when his grandmother called and told me he left us, I was there when I walked in your home and saw the agognizing grief on your face, I was there to hold you, to tell you that there was a bigger picture. I was there, standing in the bitter bitter cold of a Boulder winter blizzard, at graveside, watching Noah’s tiny wood coffin shaking in the wind, I was there when they set what was left of his shell, for his beautiful spirit had already left us, into the earth. I was there as doves circled overhead, left and circled back again; a promise that there would be some peace coming in our lives. I was there when I wrote Noah’s eulogy, the words that came from beyond, out of my hand, through my pen, onto paper and in front of you all, out of my tears. I asked “What good can we make of Noah’s passing?”
What Tzedakah can come from this? In Judiasm, tzedakah refers to the religious obligation to do what is right and just, which Judaism emphasises are important parts of living a spiritual life. Maimonides says that, the highest form of Tzedakah is to give a gift or partnership that will result in the recipient supporting himself instead of living upon others.
So here we have it. Grief Support Network is the Tzedakah you have built out of that pain and sorrow suffered so terribly. The doves of peace have returned to circle overhead as you give the gift of justice to others. That’s my story. It’s our story too!