It was a sad Sunday.
The madness of Buffalo, NY and what seems to be similar madness in Laguna Woods, CA… shooters who traveled hundreds of miles with death on their minds based on their bent political ideas. 10 dead innocents in Buffalo. Just one in Laguna Woods… the heroic man who went after the assailant, followed by other potential victims finding a way to stop the gunman.
In Chicago, at a great piece of public art known as “The Bean,” 2 kids went at it and one ended up dead.
“The two teenagers exchanged words. Then, Holliday jumped on Richardson's back. The victim then punched the defendant in the head. At the same time, another male approached the defendant and appeared to punch at the defendant's head. Defendant Richardson then pulled out a handgun and shot the victim once in the chest."
- Chicago Tribune
All three of the murderers are in custody.
And in my extended family, we lost Steve Sager to cancer at 70. Steve was one of 3 couples that became lifelong friends through United Synagogue Youth in the early 70s. One of those couples were my sister and brother-in-law. The 3 couples got together every New Year’s for 50 years… first as a group of 6 and then with their kids… and eventually, with the grandkids.
Steve was a Rabbi, as was another of the husbands, Gary Fink. My brother is dedicated to his synagogue, but became a businessman with rabbinical tendencies.
Steve was one of those guys who always brought a light to any room. He was quite tall and quite good looking… but he had a gentle strength that drew people to him.
He came to Baltimore from his home in Durham, North Carolina to officiate my mother’s faux-funeral. We spread her ashes - not a Jewish thing - in the Conservative Cemetery - not allowed to spread anything - where my father’s family and my parents’ 5 deceased children are buried. My niece spread flowers… another Jew-no-no. But there was Steve, making the adjustment to our quirky choices, finding words to comfort the mourning, embracing a bunch of rule breakers in the way they needed to be embraced. It is a special thing to be so kind, so smart, and so generous.
To say he will be missed, at home, but his friends, and by so many people who had a moment of grace with him, is an understatement.
I’m going to write another piece right after this, embracing the frivolousness of life. Because we only have what we have. Can’t linger too long as a journalist… and there never is long enough to linger when you have lost someone close to you.
25 years in July since my father passed. And he’s still with me every day, often in my frustration that I never got to give him the joy that my child would bring him. Too late.
Meanwhile, one of my sisters, in her 70s, just lost her mother and is processing that in her way.
There is no rhyme. There is no reason. There is only our hearts and our humanities and our passions for life.
Let’s not forget this Sunday anytime soon. And let’s live out lives to the fullest even as we carry that burden.