As many who follow the Jewish blogosphere are aware, RivkA, authoress of the blog Coffee and Chemo, passed away. Her funeral is underway in Jerusalem as I write this.
I first became aware of RivkA at the first Jewish bloggers’ conference two years ago. While most of the bloggers present had Israel advocacy as one of the central concerns of their blogs, RivkA actually had much more in common with the world at large in her fight against cancer and her struggle to maintain a normal life with her husband and children while living with her illness. A few months ago, I had a dream after reading one of her blog posts in which she debated when to tell her children that the cancer had spread to her brain. (Should she tell them as soon as possible, or should she wait until they had attended some activities they had been looking forward to? How would she be able to tell some at one time, and others later? How to put off giving them bad or frightening news as long as possible, without withholding from them news they had a right to hear?) In my dream, I was diagnosed with cancer and was faced not only with the daunting task of treatment, major life changes, and a likely shortened time on earth, but the even more devastating job of informing my young children and living with all of our feelings for the rest of my life.
My nightmare was RivkA’s reality. Reading her blog could be difficult, but in addition to the concern I felt for what she was living with, I also found profound wisdom there. She once wrote in a post (my paraphrase), “I used to think there were two types of people: those with easy lives, where everything is pleasant and goes smoothly, and those whose lives are difficult and a day-to-day struggle. Now I know there are two types of people: those with difficult lives, and those we don’t know very well.”
This is my first experience in my short blogging life of losing one of our own, and one of our finest. To RivkA’s family and friends: HaMakom yinachem etchem b’toch sha’ar avlei Tzion v’Yerushalayim. May RivkA’s memory be blessed.