Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Remembering a beautiful person, gone too soon

Yesterday would have been Jennifer Sack's 38th birthday.

Her friends and family have been saying Happy Birthday in heaven. They're saying it on Facebook while sharing their memories, and they said that and Happy Hanukkah too at the Sack family Hanukkah party that I attended in Riverdale on Sunday. They are saying how much they miss her and how almost a year after her death, it hasn't gotten much easier. A friend of hers shared the photo above.

It was of course her twin brother David's birthday also. He came from California to be at the party. It was good to see him. I had pneumonia and couldn't go to the memorial service last year. She committed suicide not too long after last year's party, when she was so cheerful and funny and fun to talk to.

It was hard for everyone on Sunday but also important to get together and share memories of Jen. I said she was the bright light in the room. I only knew her at family gatherings and so cannot begin to imagine how painful it must be for the ones closest to her. Still, as I wrote in last year's blog post on Jan. 7 (below), it was shocking and devastating for me too. The news reports said it was depression, but I believe it was more complicated than that.


From Sick and Heartbroken Jan. 7, 2016

I have been feeling under the weather and coughing but not too bad until over the weekend I got a low-grade fever and called my doctor's office where the physician on call said it was probably viral.

But when I went in to see Dr. Berger on Monday and told him my chest hurt he said that given my history he would give me an antibiotic, Levaquin. He sent me for an X-ray which later in the day revealed I have pneumonia.

It is not terrible like the time two years ago that I had to be hospitalized, so I have been going out a little to do some things I need to do. For example, Jane and Jim are away so I have to take care of my dog. I called Joe to see if he could come home this weekend but he had plans, so I had to go to the store. Without my exercise-induced endorphins, I feel mentally as well as physically crappy.

Jennifer Sack
I came in on Tuesday so see this post on Facebook: NYPD Wants Your Help Finding Missing Bronx Woman.  I wrote WHAT? because I saw that it was my beautiful cousin Jennifer, 37 and a twin – actually my cousin Peter's daughter, technically my first cousin once removed, but to me they are all cousins – and I had just talked to her at our Hanukkah party in the Bronx. We had such a nice talk and she had said I should stay with her next year. She looked like a model. I had no idea that anything was wrong, but the story said she was depressed. Her cousin sent me the link. She had been missing since Sunday.

She sent her parents an email with the heading "I'm sorry," saying she was going to jump off the GW bridge. She left a long suicide note. I was hoping that she was wandering around and had rethought it or that somebody might have stopped her. Apparently it is way too easy to jump off this bridge, with someone attempting it every 3.5 days and only a waist high metal guardrail. A story stating that an anti-suicide fence was planned by 2024 raised the question of why isn't there one already. Talk about scandal and the George Washington Bridge. It is a scandal that suicides off the bridge are on the increase and that people so distressed and vulnerable know how easy it is to do.

Her body was found yesterday near the Manhattan side of the bridge. I keep looking at her picture and wondering how that could happen. She was so beautiful inside and out and so full of life. I remember back in our apartment in New York 37 years ago pacing the living room and looking out the window at Mt. Sinai hospital where their mother, Diane, was in labor, and wondering when the twins would be born. They were so cute growing up and such nice adults who I always tried to see on holidays. To lose a twin must be almost unbearably hard.

I would like to share my sympathies with the family at the service on Sunday in New York, but I will not be able to go. So I will have to send love.

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