It’s Personal: Passages … and More

January 5, 2019

It’s Personal: Passages … and More


Mark Rubin

I’m writing on Saturday night, enjoying Lawrence of Arabia on Hollywood at Home on our local PBS station. It’s truly a magnificent movie! And a reminder that for more than 100 years the Middle East has been front and center in the Western World’s decision-making dynamic.

On to my subject matter: passages.

Tangential loss presents special challenges. When a family member or close friend passes, rituals drive the experience. Work stops. People show up. “Whatever you need,” comes quickly. Generally, people who suffer a loss get a wide professional berth.

Not so much with a tangential loss. You knew George H.W. Bush? Don’t expect a trial continuance. Your neighbor passed, so you think you shouldn’t have take your final exam? Good luck with that!

I’ve suffered four losses in the last 16 days. All tangential, more or less. I’d be rocking on … but I blog and have indulgent readers. (Quick thought: Imagine Donald Trump as a blogger, not a Tweeter. Consider the possibilities! A president who can string together coherent sentences, and share them confidently. Um … wait; didn’t we have one recently!)

The last survivor among the Crew of Four – my mom included – lost her brother late last month. (He was a developer / home builder, and he contributed greatly to the betterment of our community.) She’s lost her three best friends – Besties for more than 50 years – (and her brother) in the last 27 months. We show up, of course, but we can only imagine her pain.

Then, 10 days ago, Yvonne Ervin passed. She’d been sick, but she’s younger than me, she was reporting in periodically on FB, and What Happened? Not my place, here, to report the details: read the link and do what you will with Google.

Yvonne and I were Rotary members years ago. I flunked – second try – and I suspect she was a Rotarian when she died. Regardless, my occasional encounters with Yvonne always lifted me. She lived happily, and always made others in her presence feel better! She rocked in the jazz world too, most recently as the Artistic Director for the Tucson Jazz Festival.

Then, earlier this week, I saw a post about Scott Zorn, who for years served as the Tucson JCC’s Director of Children, Youth and Camping Services. (A couple of years ago he, his wife Julie and their children Haley and Dylan left Tucson for the JCC in Akron, Ohio.) Dead. On January 1. Suddenly. Huh?

Scott, and Julie, brought joy to thousands of Tucson youngsters while they worked at the J. With their music and Scott’s role as Shabbat Scott, they filled the J with life.

In what seems like a prior life I did 15 years on the Tucson JCC board. Nothing made me smile more than being at the J on a Friday morning, hearing Scott and Julie help youngsters feel joyful. In these angry times, too many have co-opted Judaism, focusing its tenets and its ancestral home – Israel – on survival. Scott and Julie recalled and instilled the notion of Sabbath joy!

Then, Friday evening, I got word that the surviving founder of the client I started representing 36 years ago, died. She’d been ill, and her passing surprised no one. Nevertheless, those of us who knew her and who are part of the corporate family grieve.

My best friend and I met in law school. He was a frat boy, so he went to lots of weddings. He’s told me, for years, that he recalls when the funerals exceeded the weddings. That’s a Greek thing, for I never attended many weddings. Funerals, on the other hand. Ugh! (Fifteen or so deaths that mattered since my mom passed 27 months ago.)

One more thing about passages. Yvonne Ervin and Scott Zorn brought music to many. Maybe they were great musicians. If so, it wasn’t evident day by day. We elevate greatness too often, and pay not enough attention to those whose efforts matter, even when they don’t reach society’s apex. Yvonne and Scott made people feel good. That’s a worthy legacy!

Godspeed, Stanley, Yvonne, Scott, and Jo Ann. You mattered, and we miss you!

More? For another day. Next post, maybe.

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