Ben Reich passed away on Sunday, March 1st. He was the father of my children and a good friend, even though we’ve been divorced for years. The past few months have been hard, as we knew he was dying- but obviously the past week and a half have been harder still. Most of his immediate family, myself included, were there with him at hospice the day he died.
I’m amazed at the outpouring of love that’s been directed at us since then. One of Leah and Hannah’s friends took off several days of school and came in from Rhode Island to be with them. Many more came to visit, and several who couldn’t come still sent food. I saw two friends of my own that I hadn’t seen for years prior. One close friend of mine came to my house after the funeral and cleaned it, rather than accompanying us to the cemetery. Her family is also the one who hired somebody to shovel our driveway that morning. Then my next door neighbor shoveled it again on Thursday when it snowed yet again.
And a great many people sent food. At one point, we were trying to decide what to order with the gift certificate to the local kosher meat place when the doorbell rang- with dinner from the kosher pizza place! Several people actually arranged a schedule of who should send meals when, to minimize overlap. Then somebody NOT on the list sent enough food for all of Shabbos- after we got the Friday night’s meal delivered! Plus, many people sent more food than we could finish in one sitting. This was partly because they just sent huge portions, and partly because none of us seemed to have normal appetites that week. Many times, Hannah would have soup and then not really want anything more solid. A few people brought or sent food that contained wheat, but most people knew of our food restrictions, and there was plenty of food that each of us could eat.
As one friend succinctly put it, our refrigerator was overflowing with love.