It started while we were in the hospital and has been continuous since then.  An outpouring of love and help in our darkest hours.  We were family only at the Tarzana PICU with Max but I had to let someone else in and I texted my best high school friend, Bianca.  She came to the hospital to be with us by Max's bedside, to hold us and to cry with us and to say a final goodbye to our little boy.  For many, Bianca became the lifeline to us, letting everyone know what was happening, telling them to include Max in their prayers, and then finally, breaking the news that at 5 pm on July 21st, we were going to have to take Max off life support and kiss him goodnight forever.  That evening at 5, many of our friends lit candles in memory of Max.  First my father's rabbi, Sela, came to say a last prayer over Max's bed with the whole family.  Then my HUC teacher and friend, Rabbi Jeffrey Marx came to be with Ted and Max and I in the final moments before we had to let go.  I cannot describe the feeling of getting in our cars to go home without our baby - empty carseat in the back - whole life empty and unreal.  We went home with our families to drink and and cry and talk away our sorrows.  While we were here, many of our friends gathered together at Tamar and Mike's new apartment to do the same.  The next day and many days after, there was a small vigil in our home of friends and family, here to help us through some mundane and often painful tasks, to visit with us and remind us that we are loved.  Beth's friend Jill came over with lots of paper goods - plates, utensils, paper towels, toilet paper and magazines.  It was so unclear in that moment what it was all for but has become SO abundantly clear since then why we needed it all -a house full of people for two weeks!  Her other close friend, Samantha, who has 2 children, one is a newborn, took in our niece Sadie for the week so Beth could be with us.  My mother-in-law rearranged book shelves, cleaned our kitchen and bathroom (which I still feel terribly about).  Our fathers coordinated issues of the morgue and timing of the funeral.  My mother took us to the cemetery so we could arrange the details of the funeral and pick out the grave site.  While we were in the hospital, my mother's boyfriend, Ken, crawled in and out of our doggie door to pick up our clothes and toiletries for us.  People like Carmen, Eowyn and Robyn flew in from around the country to wipe down kitchen counters and help us get our laundry done.  Allison collected all of the information and coordinated the JNF tribute page for Maxie's forest.  Suzy helped Ted and I put the text together for that page and for emails and helped us to figure out various settings on our Facebook pages.  As always, Greg brought lots of beer and big laughs. Sammy, Erika, and Ian came (and brought at least 20 Zankou chickens)  and played with our niece, Mandy while we watched home videos of our awesome trip to Palm Springs last summer.  Sigalle came with her dad, David, one of my dad's best friends, to reminisce about past camping trips and canoe adventures.  Jessica, Missy, Darren, Molly, Johnny Mack, Auntie Alison, Cousin Lizzy, Auntie Harriet, Cousin Stephanie, Auntie Esther, Rod, Cousin Jodi, Stacy, Joslyn... this was all before shiva.  I have put off writing this post because there were so many of you and obviously I am going to forget people.  Many of you flew or drove into town for the funeral or for a night or two of Shiva - Leslie, Chris Barry, Liz, Carly, Randy's mom Araya, Shannon, Shepro, Kyle, Winsom, Meaghan, Carl, Kerry, Mandy.  Many of you happened to be in town when this all went down and took time out of your vacations to sit in our house of mourning - Ara, Ali, Josh, Tallie, Saul, Stefanie...I can't even begin to name everyone who came to shiva, but want to thank you all.  All of the catering for the shiva was taken care of by Craig, David Frank, the people at Conair and Cuisinart.  So many people baked and cooked or bought delicious food for us...Steve and James, the Greens, Missy, Stefanie, Ken, Noah and Jessica...frankly, there was and is so much food here, I am not sure where it all came from. You have helped us do the things that are most impossible. Kate brought me an emergency kit for my car with eye make up remover, mascara, under eye concealer and anti stress aromatherapy for when life gets too hard and I am out in the world. She also arranged a food drop off and friends have been and will continue through November to drop off meals for us during the week.  I cannot believe how many of you have signed up to do this for us. Greg drove people up the hill to my mother's house after the funeral while Tamar and Carmen directed drivers where to park. My mom's friends, Steve and James gave us their vacation home in Laguna Beach, where we spent this past weekend.  My step-mother, Leonie, has offered to take me to get a foot massage.  Just the other day, Amy R came over with a giant cooler to collect my breast milk supply to give to a woman that Bianca found who has cancer and cannot nurse her baby.  After she left my house, she went to the daycare to pick up the rest of it and pack it up.  That was hard but made me feel good for a moment, knowing that Maxie's milk can help another baby thrive.  We have heard from so many of you through emails and phone calls and text messages and posts on our Facebook pages.  You have sent us lists of therapists and resources, you have sent books about grieving and loss.  If I forgot you here, it doesn't mean I forgot you.  You will be close to our hearts forever and we can only hope that you will never need us like we have needed you. 

1 comment

Esther said...

Dear Abby,
I read your blog each day and cry with you. It hurts so much to see you in so much pain. I don't know what to say to ease your pain, but know your Ted, mother, father and brother need you to move forward, so that eventually, all the wonderful things about Maxie, can be experienced with a smile and contentment for all of you.
With a heavy heart,
auntie Esther