In Tribute To A Young Friend by Harriet Cabelly

Today was the fifth anniversary of the death of an 18 year old girl.  Aviva was my daughter’s college roommate overseas.  She was memorialized today with a brunch service that included moving and eloquent speeches and acknowledgment of a charity set up in her name to continue her good-natured work of helping those younger students less fortunate than her.  Hundreds of people turned out for this tribute in her memory.

The youngest child, the only daughter of six children,  Aviva came home for spring vacation and within a week was gone as a result of a staph infection, leaving all her loved ones stricken to the core of their existence with grief; knocked off of their foundation of life.  The soul of a most beautiful and good- natured human being filled with all the radiance and purity of a brilliant diamond, was lifted up and taken where we can only hope is a better place.

Faith is what has kept her incredible parents and siblings alive with courage and strength to carry on, with a hole in their hearts and soul and yet a warm smile and words of encouragement for all.

Today at this most special and meaningful tribute, Aviva’s family was there to greet all of the now 23 and 24 year old friends who have gone on with their lives; some to marry and have children of their own.  A most sincere and exuberant expression of true happiness from Aviva’s mom to my daughter who is due to give birth very soon.   While I cringed, she embraced.

I thought back… I had visited Aviva in the same hospital, the same ICU unit, with the same doctors, where my daughter had been 8 years ago.  I went to visit and speak to her parents, to convey the hope and prayer of a miracle like my daughter had, while also on every conceivable life-saving machine.

But alas….

Two teenagers

One lives; one dies

Both were loving, greatly loved

Lots of prayers surrounded them by all

One lives; one dies

What are the factors, the variables?

That one should live

And one should die

Can’t ask why

No ‘real’ answer

G-d decided

“Who shall live and who shall die”

Struggling with the whys

An exercise in futility

Better to deal with the hows

How to go on with what is…..

May we all become better human beings because of Aviva’s short but most meaningful life and the lessons of goodness she taught us all by her being.


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