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#54 (28Jan01) Being Here

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Subject: Jen wellness update #54 (28Jan01) Being Here - On The Longest Day
From:      Bill Rivers

Jen Watchers,

Preparing Karl & Jen's flat for the afternoon's reception is a welcome distraction in the morning. Karl & sister Karen take a break to Baker beach, walking in the sunshine at one of Jen's favorite spots.

With an inevitability the stretch limo arrives on time to take the united families to the synagogue. The moments that that can't be put off are inexorably approaching. Nerves in the car from the speakers, there's not been much time since Jen's death to write these eulogies, they don't believe they can do Jen justice. They don't believe any words of theirs can ever do her justice.

In the synagogue courtyard where we gather there's such a fresh and full outpouring of grief as people arrive. Jane Perlman is almost dissolving in tears, the load seems close to breaking her. She is being held together with our embraces.

We file into the synagogue past a table with two beautiful photos of Jen, some special driftwood and the picture she painted post-operation.  There can't be any dry eyes now and the ceremony hasn't begun.

Helen, the Rabbi, has a quiet dignified manner that brings our attention to bear on the speaker's lectern. This isn't the place to describe those wonderful speeches that follow. Karl will be publishing them later. But each speaker invokes different facets of Jen, we come to appreciate more and more how talented and unique she was. Sobbing keeps springing up all over. We close with the Kiddush - the traditional Jewish mourner's chant and the room echoes to these beautiful portentous Hebrew words.

In the courtyard saying farewells a cold wind is gathering, the sun is becoming obscured. The tears don't seem to have an end.

Back in the flat we're able to start to laugh. Naomi, Rita & Steve, Ingrid and others have produced just the creature comforts we need and Larry starts to hold court again. There's a relief and thankfulness that the some of the great things that needed to be said about Jen have been uttered. The forthcoming NY ceremony will twist our chords of anguish again but we now know how important it will really be do this act of testament.

As a practiced Jen Watcher I know the doubt of wondering if the email one's just sent to Karl hits the wrong note or is intrusive. That there is often no reply or just a short acknowledgement can feed this doubt.  Well, I'm here to tell you guys keep writing. Reading the incoming email is the first thing Karl does in the morning and the last at night. And many times in between. And when he wakes up in the middle of the night (as just happened). It really sustains him. The pressures on his time and the emotional commitment he would put into a full reply preclude him from making proper response now - but he reads every email to the last drop.

Bill Rivers

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Page last updated: Monday, 05 March 2001 06:34:52 Eastern Time.