At 10:35am on Valentine’s Day 2013, a Thursday, I received the worst news of my life. “There’s no easy way to say this,” the dean from the University of Miami said. “I’m afraid your son has passed away.” Even as I wailed Nonononononono I remember noting the time on my computer. I’ll forever see those little digital numbers in the lower right-hand corner of the screen marking the shattering of life as I knew it. My beloved son Eitan Stern-Robbins was a freshman at UMiami, and he passed away in his sleep due to complications from an epileptic seizure.
Since that awful day, I’ve been posting thoughts and pictures of Eitan every Thursday (or so) on Facebook, counting the weeks since he’s been gone. Facebook has provided a convenient and embracing forum for celebrating my son’s life. I also created a tribute website for him (EitanSternRobbins.com). But many friends and family are not on Facebook, and I want to be able to share these thoughts with more people, so I’ve created this blog, a companion to his website.
On Mother’s Day 2013, I lost my longtime partner Larry Kletter to a heart attack, grief upon grief. Just to give the full background that is influencing the course of my writing here. I appreciate anyone reading these reflections. They give me strength, and I hope they’ll inspire you in some way.
Z”L stands for zichrono livracha – זיכרונו לברכה – and means “may his memory be a blessing.” Being Eitan’s mother has most certainly been a blessing in my life.