My best friend Jane ז”ל passed away last night. I can honestly say it was an honour and a privilege to be with her almost until her final moments, and yet it was the most traumatic thing I have ever faced in my (admittedly sheltered) life. Today her funeral took place, attended by her family and by hundreds of friends.
I didn’t know I had so many tears in my eyes, and the yet store does not run dry. I thought about writing about Jane but I cannot find the words at the moment.
One of the remarks made by our Rabbi in his eulogy at the funeral was that the verse in the Eshet Chayil (“A Woman of Valour”) song, from משלי ל”א (Proverbs 31:25) sung by husbands to their wives on Friday night, could have been written with Jane in mind.
עז והדר לבושה ותשחק ליום אחרון
She is clothed in strength and glory, and she smiles until the last day.
Indeed Jane was smiling and loving until her last minutes, inquiring of her many visitors how their families are, sending her love to friends’ children and families, almost literally laughing and smiling until the last day. She never complained about her lot despite all the hardships that she suffered, always had a willing ear and a caring hand for those in difficulty, and yet took great delight in other people’s celebrations, never begrudging their happiness.
The entire poem of Eshet Chayil could have been written for Jane, but those words quoted above stand out.
Here is a song whose simple and beautiful words were written by Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, the first Chief Rabbi of Israel and the inspiration for the religious Zionist movement.
כשהנשמה מאירה – גם שמים עוטי ערפל מפיקים אור נעים.”
When the soul lights the way – even the heavens enveloped in mist give forth a pleasant light.
May the pure soul of Jane z”l light up the heavens so that they shine upon the whole world.
We will all miss Jane’s creativity, her spirit of volunteerism and selflessness, her faith in Hashem and her marvellous sense of humour.
I am simply going to miss my “older sister”, my best friend.
יהי זכרה ברוך. ברוך דיין אמת