Sometimes things happen in life that, if you saw them in a movie, you'd throw your refreshments at the screen.
Several years ago, a friend of mine from high school died of a heroin overdose, and his funeral, by coincidence, fell on my 30th birthday. At the time — this was in the days before 40 was the new 30 and charcoal was the new black — it seemed so cliché that on a day which in popular culture was meant to symbolize the end of youth and the irreversible plunge into adulthood, I was burying a boyhood friend. Had I written such a scene from my imagination, I would have thrown it away as utterly unbelievable.
But there it was, happening to me.
A few months ago, David Honigsberg, a dear friend of mine who was also my rabbi and the co-officiant of my wedding to Kara just a few years earlier, died of a sudden massive heart attack. He was only 48 years old and had appeared to be the very picture of enviable health. His absence continues to feel, by turns, unreal to me and then like a deep wound. But by horrid chance, his funeral fell on the day of my wife's birthday (thankfully not her 30th), so that gruesome coincidence is now something that we have in common.
Again, if I was scripting my life, I would have uncapped a red pen at that point and gone to work.
Yesterday, in the early hours of the morning while much of New York City slumbered, a sweet and talented young woman named Sandra Jimenez passed away of cancer. Only a few hours earlier, my friend and hermano Randy had married her in a private bedside service, a final testament to the heroic love and devotion he showed as he supported her months-long fight against this swift and tragic illness. His faith in her, his love for her, and his hope for a remission never faltered. If you want to know what courage looks like, this is it.
Would it be believable if you saw it in a movie? Who gives a shit? That's not the point. It's life. That's the point.