RivkA’s passing

November 1, 2010

RivkA’s funeral was late Saturday night.  Here are two comments from Toddler Planet that I wanted to share with you.

Michele said:

I have never seen so many people attend the burial of a private person in Jerusalem. More than 1,000 people, men and women, of all ages, gathered together at 10 pm on a chilly Jerusalem night and paid their last respects to a young mom who really and truly inspired many of us to live more loving, more deliberate, more in-the-moment lives.

and Robin:

There were so many people at the funeral Andrea that many had to stand outside, listening to the loudspeakers. It was a night of so much love, and pain, and yes even laughter. RivkA would have wanted it that way, and I trust that even now she’s up there somewhere taking the place by storm.  Here’s a link to the Jerusalem Post essay you mentioned, it’s a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman.

Condolences for the family can be left at RivkA’s blog, Coffee and Chemo, and you are of course invited to share any memories of her there or here.

A Little Light

October 30, 2010

by Jen(ster)

Yesterday’s news was a blow for most, if not all, of us. Cancer has taken another mother away from her children and it hurts. I don’t know about the other writers here, but I’m guessing it shook them up just as it did me.  Just like the others who are gone, every post or comment by her causes a hitch in my breath.

Shortly after I read the news about RivkA I received a message from Cindy’s sister. (I wrote about Cindy HERE.)  It didn’t say much, but what it did say was huge. Only one lymph node out of 14 was cancerous.

While I mourn for RivkA’s family, I rejoice for Cindy’s. Her first battle with cancer was an extremely tough fight for her and this time might just be a little easier.

RivkA has died.

October 29, 2010

Our old friend RivkA has passed away.  I would write lovely words here for her, but right now I am just so ANGRY that cancer has taken another good woman from the world.  

In June 2009, RivkA gave a talk on Coping With Adversity; she recently asked that it be reposted on her blog and shared again with the world.  In her honor, we encourage you to view the link and honor the memory of a woman who fought the good fight.

Please daven, pray, or whatever you do in your faith tradition for the memory of a good woman, and for the healing of her family.

All the Best

November 12, 2009

Dear Friends,

I regreat that I will no longer be posting here.

Thank you for all your love and support.

If you would like to remain in touch, you are welcome to visit my personal blog:


You are also welcome to email me privately at:


May we all have a full recovery and enjoy good health for many years to come.

All my love,


Death Be Not Proud*

October 26, 2009

(cross posted on Coffee and Chemo)

You know, I am good. I mean, I have cancer and everything, but I am good.

Mostly, I feel good, and I do things, and I even work a bit.

Most of the time, I do not feel that cancer defines me.

But it does.

I am unquestionably in the cancer world.

Even taking chemo in pills (at home), I still have to go to the hospital several times a month — for doctor’s visits and blood tests (every 3 weeks) and my bone treatments (once a month).

But that is not all. No, no, that is not all.

I also have to go to the hospital for regular CTs, MRIs, bone scans, echocardiograms, ultrasounds, and whatever other tests or procedures are deemed necessary by my team of medical caregivers.

Everywhere I go, I meet other cancer patients.

Over time, many of the cancer patients get better and “disappear” back to their “old life,” the life without cancer.

But not everybody.

Some people, like me, are not going to get better. We meet regularly, week by week, month by month. We get to know each other. We get connected.

Many are like me. They are good. They are living with their cancer, and they are really living. Struggling, like me, but living. Even, I would say, living a good life.

But not everybody. Not all the time.

Sometimes people disappear and I do not know why. Have they simply switched treatment days or….? I am afraid to ask. Afraid to know.

It is hard. Hard to keep hearing about people dying of cancer.

Hard to keep my head buried in the sand, denying the threat of death, when death is all around me.

When I was first diagnosed, I stumbled onto the devastating statistics: five years after diagnosis, only 20% of women diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer are still alive.

I desperately needed to find other young women who were living with cancer for more than 10 years, to know they existed, to know it was possible, to believe that I could be one of them.

It was surprised (though I should not have been) that it was not easy to find these women.

I contacted Sharsheret, a support organization connecting young Jewish American women with breast cancer, who connected me with an amazing woman. Though extremely private about her cancer, she generously shared details of her challenges and accomplishments. She was still working, full time, as a professor in a university! She inspired me, and gave me hope. I spoke with her several times, until I found more local support via Beit Natan.

I just found out that, a year ago, she passed away suddenly, leaving behind 8 children. She battled cancer for around 10 years.

Her sudden death shocked those around her. But not me.

I have already learned: cancer is devious.

A cancer patient can seem fine one day, and the next day is critically ill. The situation can revert back to being stable or the patient can be dead within a few weeks. There is no way to know.

We never know.

Every death is devastating. Another reminder that living with cancer is uncertain.

Everything can change in an instant.

footnote: Death Be Not Proud, by John Donne (Link includes full poem and Wikipedia article)