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November 20, 2013: Shiva

Shiva week is over. The chairs and guests, and food have been put away. The home that was turned into a medical clinic and then a synagogue is slowly being transformed back into a home. There were many amazing stories that were told about Stella over the week. This one was my daughters’ favorites:

I received the following e-mail one evening. Of course I remembered the story. How together with these two seminary girls we had a wonderful shabbos in the surgical ward. Stella knew right away how nervous and scared this girl was to be in a hospital where she had no family, barely knew the language, and had an undiagnosed and somewhat scary condition. But let me share part of her e-mail:

I don’t know if you remember me, but two years ago I met you and Stella in Shaareh Zedek hospital. I had expected that first shabbos to be an absolute nightmare–I was in the hospital alone with no family in Israel. But you and Stella took me in and treated me like family. I will never forget sharing shabbos food with you two and my friend. It was one of the most uplifting experiences I’ve ever had; Stella never let her problems make her any less positive.

I’ve been following your blog for the past year and was brought to tears by your most recent post. I don’t know what to say to you other than I hope you both know that despite all of the horror this illness has brought you both have managed to have a positive, life-long affect on me and my friend. And, I’m sure we are not the only ones. I have taken up learning in the merit of Stella.

Now comes part two.

I was told that a family was coming to pay a shiva call to me. I did not know them. I only knew that their daughter had been killed in a car crash the week before and that her freshly dug grave was the one next to Stella’s. I was wondering what on Earth I could say to this grieving family who were coming to comfort me on my loss.

So I told them the story above. And I said that I have no idea how this works, but if Stella were given a choice on whom to be buried next to, it would be next to their daughter, a poor, scared soul taken out of this world way too early. And I told them that I was certain that Stella would spread her wings around their daughter and comfort her the same way she did the girl in the hospital.

Because whether in this world or the next, that’s what an angel does.

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