Friday, December 21, 2012

No One More Loved or Loving

You’re going to see these words on Facebook frequently in the next few days, and everywhere else people congregate on-line: “I’ve lost a great friend.”  No one will be overstating them; every similar statement of loss, grief or heartbreak will be heartfelt.
“My beautiful Ruth passed away at 3:15 this afternoon,” wrote her devoted husband, Ed.  “She just quietly slipped away. She looked beautiful and at peace.”
Ruth Kurtzman always looked “beautiful” and “at peace” because she radiated more genuine warmth and affection, more regard and respect for others, than anyone else in her hemisphere, which encompassed New York and New Jersey, family and untold friends she made feel like family, pets and canine house guests, cabaret and theater, good works and good books, more cabaret and theater, music and art, anything that made the world a better place as naturally as she did.
Unassuming and unawares, Ruth achieved fame without being conventionally famous—significantly for her inherent support of talent, large and sometimes small, but always unfailingly welcomed by Ruth the undeclared den mother with enthusiasm and encouragement.  The world of cabaret won’t be the same without her in the audience, seated as close to the stage and the performer(s) as she could possibly get.

As I lose dear friends, as I see the world lose irreplaceable good, I find myself repeatedly thinking of these eloquent words of Thomas Campbell and citing them to comfort others as well as myself: "To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die."

What an incomparable legacy Ruth leaves!  No one was as loved and as loving.  The world lost a friend yesterday.  Neither she, nor the extraordinary love and devotion of Ed, and of her children, will be forgotten.  Nor will the grace with which Ruth, Ed, Julie and Aaron handled her last days.  If there is dignity in death, they have shown it to the rest of us.