We are back from Chicago! Whitney’s memorial service was a fitting tribute, especially in that we got to hang with her Mom, Vicki and stepdad, Mort. Their generous spirits are a testament to why Whitney was/is the beautiful soul she was/is. I guess I’m a grown up because I’ve now given my first eulogy. Whitney’s Eulogy I had no idea until we got there that I was going to be the only one to speak. Sometimes it is hard to know if the way I see something is the way everyone else does. The murmurs of agreement let me know that I was voicing what others felt too. Whitney had her “Tasha” file of memorabilia, and I’ve got my “Whitney” file now. I was so grateful to Vicki for bringing some of these items, including birthday cards written enthusiastically but never sent and her original ticket stub from when we went to the very first Lilith Fair! It was so hard for her to navigate that night the way she felt, but she did it, with our help, and it remains one of my best memories with my girlfriends at that time. I may have turned down that expensive ticket to the last Dead show, but I was at the first Lilith Fair! lol…
The AJPA Conference is over. It was a terrific program that I truly believe will assist Jewish journalism in moving forward to the future. I was also happy that the Washington Jewish Week on display was the one with my most recent column about Israel and the “peace” process. June 2009 Column
Avital had a great time in “the old country” of Chicago and was even inspired to learn to crawl, wave and high-five during the week. Ask the AJPA attendees, that girl can work a room! I appreciated the charm when she would cry on the plane, then stand up and wave and giggle at the audience behind her. We’d put her down and she’d cry again, lift her up to see her audience, and she’d wave and smile at them again. She is a Kosher Ham! Forget, Slash, “Kosher Ham” is her new nickhame.
Where does the time go? I can’t believe I haven’t posted in so long. I want to share my column from May about Whitney. Of course as soon as it was published we changed the location of the memorial event from the beach to Kristin and Andy’s house. However, I agree with Lani, we can’t say goodbye to Whitney without going to the beach so we’ll go there afterward with any one else who wants to come. Actually, come to think of it, I don’t want to say goodbye at all. The thought of that… I want to go to the beach because I feel like I can hang out with her there. Does that sound insane?
Other highlight of today…Schmoozed with Christopher Hitchens. Fun to finally meet him.
Here is the column: may-2009-column.pdf
I dreamt that Whitney (see previous post) came back to hang out with us. “Us” being her old friends who miss her dearly. She said, “What did you expect? That I’d just leave you? Of course I wouldn’t do that.” In my dream she had her long blond dreads and was full faced with a solid body, like when she first came home from UC Santa Cruz. I remember thinking that I didn’t know silky blond hair could be made into dreads.
She wasn’t emaciated from not being able to eat. Her hands didn’t shake from medication. She was totally with us, completely present and joyful. She was clear-headed with no need for painkillers that made her forget when we left her messages or had an hour long conversation.
I don’t remember that we did anything adventurous in my dream. We all just hung out and laughed, happy to be together.
I woke up and felt none of the painful guilt for not having talked to Whitney before she died. I just felt I’d had a chance to see her and be with her and that she knew we loved her.
Lately I’ve found myself thinking, “What would Whitney do?” If she could smile, laugh and live each day with hope, I should be able to overcome anything and always think positively. I shouldn’t just give someone homeless money. I should stop and speak to them and help them feel visible and important. That’s what she used to do.
Anyway, in the spirit of living each day as it is and taking the good… here is my latest column:
The Ups and Downs of Pesach Stress