Friday, March 14, 2008:
This is a sad time for us, but it is also a time to reflect on a remarkable person who led an extraordinary life. I want to thank everyone who came here to pay tribute to my sweet child Sarah; especially those whom I do not know who obviously love her and who came to remember her with her family. The fact that we are all here together, albeit united in grief, is something that would have made Sarah happy.There's more...
I want to first take a moment to thank Elissa, whose passionate and lifelong devotion to her children (and now to her grandchildren) has inspired in them a love for family and others that is as manifest in every one of their lives, as it was in Sarah’s. For me the most painful and necessary and important lesson of Sarah’s leaving is that we must all learn to appreciate each other more. And we must all love each other more. This is what Sarah would want from us.
I never knew a kinder person with a bigger heart than my sweet Sarah. All of us begin life with streaks of selfishness and sometimes meanness. Sarah came into this world without such a gene in her body. Frustrations she had; anger yes. But I never saw her be unkind to anyone; or to any living creature. When she was in the fourth grade to take just a characteristic example, her class had a rabbit named Wumpy who needed to be adopted when the term came to an end. No one in the class stepped forward to take Wumpy. And so Sarah brought Wumpy home. It was so Sarah to do.
...All her life Sarah faced great odds, and not only because of her small stature, which caused many to underestimate her, and forced her to have to exert herself to be taken seriously. From the day she was born she was beset with medical problems which hampered her ability to cope. She had a kinked aorta which doctors feared would shorten her life. And possibly did. She was hard of hearing, eventually almost to the point of deafness in a way that could not be corrected by technological aids. In her first years she had difficulty even forming words and then putting them together in sentences. Yet despite these challenges, she became a gifted writer of poetry and prose, with a stunning ear for the language. After she was gone an interview with her was published on Next Book, an Internet website which features writers such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth. She was pleased when I told her I was jealous, which I was. In addition to mastering her own language in a way few people do, she made herself learn Hebrew in order to pursue her faith, which she would have referred to as her spiritual path. She was a fount of knowledge about Judaism and gave Sabbath lectures on sacred texts.
She was near-sighted and had a poor sense of direction and was never able to drive. She could walk only with difficulty and pain, which grew worse as she grew older. Yet every week and sometimes more than once a week she walked two miles to shul and back, in fair weather and foul.
Many people would have been depressed and then overwhelmed by the difficulties Sarah faced in the ordinary business of her life; the medical procedures she was put through, which often did not work; the impaired mobility which constricted her horizon and made every common task from going to the grocery store for food to taking the bus downtown to service her computer a burden; the near-sightedness which made her favorite vocations, reading and writing, even more arduous than they normally are; the single life which she did not want; the limited financial resources, which made her count pennies; the tiny apartment, which could barely hold her books and belongings. But Sarah was not overwhelmed by these frustrations and disappointmentss; she packed more interests and more travels, more experiences and more learning, more friends, and more projects, more people that she touched in her brief lifetime than most people do in earthly journeys that are twice as long. And she left a greater vacancy behind....
I realize that David Horowitz' book has been out for quite some time now. But this is the first I've heard of it this morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show as she was promoting the March for Life rally today in Washington.
His story is something that I can so relate to. I have a daughter who has needs that are very special. I live with the fact that my daughter's life can be taken away from me in the blink of an eye so I do understand how important the value of our lives are and how we must cherish and respect it, as it is so short.