Many people in our lives are undoubtedly having trouble focusing on just about anything other than the Frankls. Since Yarden’s post last night, people have been turning to us left and right to ask what they can do. Realizing before they ask that there is probably nothing to do, per se, they still want to reach out, to help, to do anything besides feeling helpless.
I’ve continually said to people that there is really nothing to be done. But then I started thinking about what people CAN do. Before I list things that you can do, there are just a few things not to do. Please don’t try to visit. They need this family time. Don’t make them food at this time. When they need food or anything else, we promise to keep you in the loop.
Ok – here is my list of what you CAN do in Stella’s name:
1. If you live in Neve Daniel, you can get involved in an amazing chesed project that our friend and neighbor, Dan Jacobson, is creating. It’s called the Ahavat Hinam (roughly translated, Unconditional Love) Project. Here is how they described it when they first introduced the idea, “Interested in meeting for an hour a week with a retiree to shmooze, play a game, or learn? Interested in helping a single parent family? “Ahavat Hinam” will pair “big brother” with “little brother”; retiree with a younger adult or teen etc. If you would like to visit, mentor, or help; If you would like to receive a visitor, mentor, or other help, please contact us.” The people in charge are Dan Jacobson, Elana Kaszovitz and Sarah Fried. Stella’s life has focused so intensely on chesed, giving and gratitude. This would be a beautiful way to participate in giving back to someone in her honor.
2. Do a random act of kindness for someone. Do it one time, do it weekly, do it daily…just do it. Think of someone with whom you haven’t spoken in a long time and call them. Pay for someone’s coffee behind you at a store. Send someone flowers. Do something! Do anything that will make you feel good for helping someone else to feel good. That’s a very Stella thing to do.
3. Send me your favorite anecdote about Stella, Yarden, the kids, Bailey…whatever. I’ve been thinking a lot about my favorite moments, and have reminisced and shared with the Frankls a lot. It will direct your energy to write something down, and it will offer a lovely moment of laughter and memory for the family. I’m going to compile these and share them at some point. Email them to me with the subject line ‘Stella Stories’ at: firstname.lastname@example.org
So, here’s one of my favorite moments…and we’ll take it from there.
Last year, right before Pesach, I had the flu. And I was really, really sick for a few days. When I started to come out of the fog, I spoke to Stella, who was in the middle of another round of chemo, I believe.
“Stay away from me, Stella,” I warned. “Don’t come over here. I’ll see you in a few days.”
“I’m coming to see you. I promise I’ll be fine. Don’t worry,” she insisted.
And we went round and round with this dialogue until I finally said, “I’m barring the door if you come here!” and I hung up.
But knowing Stella, I knew that she wouldn’t stay away from the chance to do bikur cholim (the mitzvah of visiting the sick).
And so, while I was lying there on a beanbag the next day, Stella appeared…wearing a mask. And I had to laugh.
My crazy best friend. She had insisted on coming to see me, but had made the compromise with Yarden, Josh and me that she would stay away from my germs; and so she came to visit in a hospital mask.
And there we sat, with my sick friend coming to “visit the sick.”
And if that ain’t a Stella story, then I don’t know what is.