A beautiful night for Maxie's Family

Last night was absolutely amazing.  Having an event for Maxie in a Comedy Club was an idea that seemed strangely appropriate and inappropriate at the same time  As it turns out, it was exactly what we all needed.  Ted said it best - Since Max died, our lives have been full of sorrow and darkness but that wasn't what Maxie's life was.  His life was full of smiles, happiness and laughter.  Last night, we all felt a little bit like ourselves again.  There were moments of overwhelming emotion, for sure.  I'd be lying if I said otherwise.  Overall though, it was beautiful to feel so much support and love from so many of our friends, family and even complete strangers.  There were over 200 people there and I am pretty sure we surpassed our fundraising goal (final count in the next few days)!  The comedians were wonderful!  I still can't believe that they donated their time to be a part of our evening.  Our friend Shawn Pelofsky totally hooked us up with her funniest friends.  Honestly, for any other event I would worry so much about foul language or appropriateness and last night I just thought - They are here doing this out of the goodness of their hearts - I don't care what they say!  I don't actually even care if it is funny!  But it was!  I missed a lot of the show but I heard uproarious laughter coming from the inside of the club.  I worked registration with Prima Sharon and our friend Erika.  My cousin Laurie worked the room and aggressively sold raffle tickets.  Ted and Suzy also worked the raffle and did a great job explaining all of the prizes.  I was "in the zone" and probably somewhat of a crazy task-master, which is how I get when I do these kinds of events, so I apologize to my fearless crew for that.  BUT - again, it helped me to feel like ME, and for that I am so grateful.  I haven't felt like myself in forever.  Thank you to my volunteers for helping SO much and for rolling with all of the punches.  The highlights of the evening for me were: 1) The raffle:  Laurie goes to pick the winner of the "Junk Food Junkie" package (100s of dollars worth of gift certificates to In N Out, Carls Jr., Pinks Hot Dogs, Weinerschnitzel and Tommy Burgers) while Suzy is saying, very sincerely, "I hope it's me, I hope it's me, I hope it's me"!  Laurie picked out the name and handed it to me because she couldn't read it.  Astonishingly, Suzy was the winner!  She got so excited, she actually screamed.  Then she fell to the ground laughing.  Sorry if I am selling you out Suze....but it was really funny.  Second funniest moment for me also happened during the raffle picks when Laurie drew another illegible name for the "Always a Woman Package" and I read "Greg Heller" out loud.  Especially funny since we consider him one of the "Golden Girls" (one of my tight crews - Carmen, Tamar, Greg and I).  In our crew, he is Estelle Getty -
 The silent auction was a major success - there was a fierce bidding war for our Cuisinart packages (brought to us by Gigi - Maxie's grandma (and my mother-in-law).  She outdid herself!  Winners were thrilled to bring home their new kitchen appliances.  Also, pretty good battles for our Costa Rica house (Villa Mot Mot) and the reading with Moriah the Medium.  Our friend Shaun and his wife, Katy, actually walked away with stays in two vacation homes belonging to our family - the CR villa and Aunt Jan's Bluebird Cottage.  My friend from down the block, Melissa, and her husband Jason (who lost their beautiful daughter, Marley, to SIDS) came and won 4 silent auction packages.  She also showed off her perfect in every way new "Marley" tattoo.  I love it.  She told me that whenever she has a "bad day" - stuck in traffic, stressed out, whatever...she can look at her wrist and remind herself that nothing is all that bad (those are my words, her are more eloquent).  So you know, I'm working on my "Maxie" tattoo.  It is going to be perfect as well!  I try so hard to be close to him always.  The tattoo will help.

There were many of my blog readers at the show and Prima Sharon felt famous.  People kept saying "So, YOU are the cousin from Mexico!  I've seen your photos on the blog."  There were also lots of non-blog readers, who just thought I had put on loads of weight.  I am a big 21 weeks pregnant.  Recall, I started off 10 pounds heavier that I was with Maxie and it's my second (some would say third) pregnancy.  I am SHOWING.  I never bothered to inform anyone that I was pregnant except for by blog.  I am sure some people left last night still not knowing that is why it looked like I had a basketball under my shirt.

Last night wasn't all rainbows and roses.  There were some tough points as well.  A well-meaning comedian told me that she found it hard to perform with photos of "that baby" on the stage.  She didn't realize I was the mom but when I told her that I didn't want anyone to lose sight of the fact that we were there for my son, she quickly retreated.  I wasn't really bothered really, she didn't mean anything by it...but it upset me a little to know that the comedians or anyone else would ever put be put off by photos of my beautiful boy.  There were also couple of medical incidents that took place.  A very good friend passed out towards the end of the evening and the paramedics had to come and take her to the hospital.  It sounds like she is fine now but it was scary.  Someone else fell in the bathroom and hurt themselves.  I don't have that full story, but it happened within moments of my friend passing out and caused more panic.  Can someone tell me if the woman who fell is ok?  I still don't even know who it was.  I was taking credit card payments for the silent auction at the time and my PTSD was triggered - I didn't know where my phone was to call 911 and everyone seemed to be yelling "Call 911" at once but nobody was actually calling...or so it seemed for a minute but I think a few people did make the call and they came very quickly.  Thank goodness my childhood friend Stefanie and her mom Judy jumped behind the registration table with me and started taking down credit card numbers.  They were terrific.  When I "woke up" this morning (I never really went to sleep) I got an email from Matt, the husband of one of my dearest friends, Marla, saying that her beloved father passed away last night.  Marla and her father were very close and he was a lovely and menschy man and I am sorry she has to go through grief.  I also received such a sweet email yesterday from one of Ted's best friend's who lost his nephew last week similarly to how we lost Max.  Ted and I have been thinking of this family so much over the past week.  Our hearts are so broken for them because we know the road that they are about to travel and we wouldn't wish it on our worst enemies.  I wish I could protect the world from grief.  It is so completely terrible.

Most surprising to me about last night is that it didn't bother me at all that people greeted me with big smiles and words of congratulations and interacted with me like everything was normal and regular in the world.  Just being at a benefit for Maxie, I knew that they knew our lives are not the same.  Maybe this is why I felt more myself during Max's funeral and shiva than I did at anytime since then (I think that more had to do with shock but..).  I didn't feel the need to push Max on anyone there because they were there for Max.  Somehow that normalized me.  As I watched our parents and siblings interact with family and friends, I felt like we were whole again for a moment in time.  Seeing my husband selling raffle tickets and greeting people with so much wit and charm and then sitting with his friends, laughing and smiling - I felt grateful.  Last night was a gift to us in more ways than anyone who came, volunteered, donated, or supported could even know.  Thank you all so much for showing me that even in the darkest of the tunnels of hell - there is a bright warm light that needs to be embraced.  It meant so much to us and I know it meant the world to our Max.

We didn't get THAT many photos of the evening, so if you happened to take any, please share.  Here are a few that Sharon got on her iphone.

Ted and I talking about the evening

Supportive (and incredibly good looking, right?) friends
Josh Spitz, on the left, was part of my Israel possé the year that 
Auntie Beth and I first met.

Greg (Estelle Getty) with his "Always a Woman" package and some Cuisinart loot

Two of my loyal JNF supporters and friends - Carole and Farnaz

Jess, Robyn and Tamar - three of my favorite ladies! 
Jess is Everett's mommy (Maxie's best friend)
Robyn is pregnant with Baby M's future best friend
and Tamar just got engaged to Greg's writing partner, Mike!

The centerpieces for the event.  The pinwheels came months ago from my high school friend, Tallie,after I posted about the pinwheels I wanted to put on Maxie's grave at the cemetery.  They were perfect for the event.  

The front part of the room.  What a crowd! 

THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who came, donated, supported, and volunteered - 
you made us feel so special!  We will never forget the evening.


Amy said...


Last night was for Maxie and it was awesome! I am so glad and grateful to have been a part of it.


Mari Kirsten said...

I am so happy that the night went so well! I am so so sorry I couldn't be there myself but so glad that Rob was able to go and represent our family. I thought about Maxie all night and knew he was laughing along with everyone. :)

Sigalle said...

It was a fabulous night and I loved seeing Maxie's smile on stage throughout the night! He was most certainly there in my mind.
Great seeing you guys. I've said it many times before. I'm here. Always.
Love much.
- Sig

Ántonia Shimerda said...

I"m so glad it went well. Sounds like a lot of fun! And your vacation home in CR sounds great. I'd like to have bid on that! I really wish we could get away and just relax somewhere. Pete lost his full time job after Toby died, though, for stress related reasons and we've been on a very tight budget since then. Hopefully in the next couple of years we can get away as a family again and really regroup. I miss traveling more than anything sometimes.

It's awesome that so many people came out and supported you. Max is very proud of you and I'm sure he enjoyed the show, too.


Tallie Fishburne said...

Abby, I love the recap so I can envision the evening more fully. I was so sorry not to be there with you, but was thinking of you all. It brings me joy that you were surrounded by friends and support for Max's forest.