A haunting photograph of a white bunk bed on the top floor of the Champlain Towers has drawn international attention and pierced the heart of many amid the searing tragedy.
The bed remained largely intact, with sheets and pillows seen on the bottom bed, and an office chair next to it. Was a child or children sleeping there before the collapse occurred?
The answer is no, according to a Miami Herald report. The bed is actually part of a furnished apartment, where a Jewish attorney, Linda March, 58, lived.
March, who was divorced, lived at the penthouse alone. She had just moved there this past March from New York’s Upper West Side, where she was concerned about the rising crime in her neighborhood
“She sent me pictures of the apartment,” her close friend, Rochelle Laufer, who grew up with March in Brooklyn, told the Miami Herald. “The place was beautiful, oceanfront, with beautiful views.”
Sadly, March never had children. She lost her sister to cancer about 11 years ago and both of her parents subsequently passed away. But her best friend, Paula Silverman, said that despite all of March’s losses, she was never alone.
“She knew everyone, she told The Jerusalem Post. “You’d walk down the street and you’d see her talking to the mailman, talking to everybody, giving out masks to everybody. A heart of gold. She was also eager to help friends free of charge if they need legal help.”
“You could tell she had this underlying pain she was pushing away, with so many losses,” Silverman said.
Silverman was devastated when she heard about the collapse. “I was paralyzed for the next three days. And the news keeps showing her apartment, over and over, the one with the bunk beds.”
Silverman said that March was a pillar of the Jewish community, both in New York and in Surfside. “She was very charitable, any little thing she would open up her wallet. She would anticipate exactly what people needed. She would say Tehillim for anyone, regardless of whether she knew them.”
“Now, we’ve put together a group to pray for her,” Silverman said, adding that she does not believe her friend will be found alive.
“Everybody loves Linda. Jews and non-Jews, they’re all saying Tehillim for her because she’s one of those people that even if you didn’t know her, she touched you.”
“This is killing me,” Silverman said tearfully. “It’s so painful and a tremendous loss. She was young and ready for the next stage of her life. I can’t wrap my head around it.”
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)