I have been a close friend and Rabbi to this family for nearly thirty years, going back to even before their marriage.
For the last several months I have been witness, daily, to the toll that this tragedy has taken on their family.
There are seven children living at home, all of whom have had to look to the father for virtually all of their needs while the mother was battling the disease that finally took her life before their very eyes.
For almost a year the father had no choice but to act as medical advocate and care-giver for his wife, while meeting the needs of his sons and daughters, ranging from the many everyday things we do to raise our children to the big milestones of finding the most appropriate schools and, in the case of four of the children who are of marriageable age, dealing with that.
I cannot describe to you what I have seen in these last months. On the one hand, there has been, and is, the incredible strength and faith that has been shown in facing these challenges. And it is a great credit to the parents, that their children, too, are sharing in and living this same faith.
But at the same time, I cannot deny the depth of the blow to this family. We are seeing a miracle in their ability to go on. But we cannot allow ourselves to rely on a miracle in dealing with the crushing financial burdens that surround this situation.
Medical bills and bills related to on-going care have piled up at the very time when the father has had so many things to do each day to save his family. It was literally a life-and-death situation and there was no other course of action he could have taken.
Now those bills must be covered and funds must be found for the marriage of their son. The rest of the children must surely be wondering what will be with them in a community in which all their classmates are already married or have finalized plans to start their new lives.
We look with hope that the community will reach out and help.
Rabbi Nasan Maimon