Losing my friend, Lois Joan Tannenbaum, July 4, 2017
July 14, 2017
These were my immediate thoughts when-just like each of you-I tried to absorb the shock. Each of you has Lois memories-these are some of mine.
On my 42nd birthday in 1981, Lois and Sheryl Meitin gave me a book, titled "Friendship."
In it, Ralph Waldo Emerson said,
"I awoke this morning with devout thanksgiving for my friends. Shall I not call God who daily showeth himself to me in his gifts? My friends have come to me unsought. They were given to me. The laws of friendship are great, austere and eternal, of one web with the laws of nature and of morals."
I went to bed on Independence Day with one less friend on this earth, but one who will remain forever in my memories and in my heart.
Lois, you entered my life 50 years ago in Orlando because of our shared values. We raised our children, shared recipes, gave dinner parties, got involved in the community and from passionate volunteers became dedicated Jewish communal professionals.
We matured together, adjusted to life's changes and expected to grow old together. We're not there yet-there was more life to share-and you left me.
You were my "go to" person-whether it be celebratory chocolate roses or consolation.
When I faced traumas in my life, you were the first person I ran to. When Matthew had his bar mitzvah and I was a single mom, you hosted the Shabbat dinner. You always were there for the hug, knew what was in my heart, what it needed and how to heal it.
In good times, we chaired ORT events, Temple Israel events, Federation/JCC events, the entire gamut-anything for community and the Jewish people. When the Jewish Museum of Florida opened, you were there. When I was honored, you drove through a horrible rainstorm to get to Miami. When I got my doctorate, you were there.
When YOU had birthdays, special events, family simchas and sorrows, just needed to talk, were honored by JNF, I was there.
We had more years to share-and you left me.
When we were young, we talked about our Moms, your sisters, our husbands, your beloved Jerry and how smart he is, our children, your nieces, Shakespeare, the Jewish community, Israel, the world.
When we got older, we talked about our doctors, our wrinkles, our grandchildren-every progression of our grandchildren, your new kitchen, Mackenzie Childs, your plants, your special interest groups, your world wanderings, Israel, the world.
I felt safe with you-having to neither weigh thoughts, nor measure words-but pour them out to you and you to me-certain that these thoughts and these words we shared would be sacred and worth keeping.
Lois was our caretaker. Surely each of you felt like you were Lois's best friend. She collected people. She questioned, she listened, she cared about so many and so much-and each of us.
In this same book, Oliver Wendell Holmes said,
"There is no friend like an old friend
Who has shared our morning days,
No greeting like his welcome,
No homage like his praise.
Fame is the scentless flower,
With gaudy crown of gold;
But friendship is the breathing rose,
With sweets in every fold."
Good-bye, my friend-your friend, Lois, with sweets in every fold. We all will love you forever.