The world has lost another fantastic, special person, and definitely too soon.

I learned this morning, while at a red light and glancing at my phone, that my friend Beth Isaacs died. She was young, one of the nicest people in the entire world, a soft-spoken angelic presence, and the mother of four children. She was married to a sweet man who is a leader nationally in the Jewish community. It is a tragedy on so many levels.

I wanted to write rest in peace, dear Beth, but then I thought about how we wish people a peaceful final resting place – what about when they’re alive? Do we wish peace on our friends and neighbors, our foes and annoyances? I don’t think most of us take the time to really think about whether this word or this action or this email will make someone’s life better – and it occurs to me now that we should.

I hadn’t spoken to Beth in a few years, since she moved from Detroit to the East Coast, but the last time I saw her, she had battled breast cancer and won. It was the pink afternoon of a Saturday and Beth and her husband and kids were walking past our house. We stopped to talk and she was as sunny as the day.

Back when I was orthodox and new in my first marriage, Beth was a kind, supportive friend. She never judged anyone. She was my daughter’s first teacher in preschool – kind, nurturing, patient. She was the epitome of a person, really – all of these characteristics we should all strive to attain. Understanding, see the best in everyone, patient.

A person like Beth is all too rare in the world today and I’m sorry I lost touch with her when I left the orthodox world and she left Michigan. But the way she touched me and my family I’ll never forget.

Now, there are four special young children who will never have their mother back.

There is a strong, steady man who lost his sweet love and life partner.

There is a community without a shining light who embodied the best of what being Jewish, being a woman, being human is all about.

So the lesson I’m taking away from this is that I will start this minute, wishing everyone peace be with you in life – every moment, every step, every trial, every triumph. My biggest challenge will be to return someone’s anger, nastiness or nudge with a swell of kindness.

I will walk in the footsteps…

Rest in peace, dear Beth. Rest in peace.

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