Friday, January 28, 2005

Remembering A Friend

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know about the friend of a friend, Nicole Weissberg, who has been missing since the Tsunami disaster. Well my friend, Lilia, wanted to honor her dear friend, so she sent us all a beautiful note about her. With her permission, I am putting it in the comments section. It is a moving tribute to someone who was obviously quite exceptional. Please read it.


At 9:11 AM, Blogger Esther said...

Nicole Weissberg

It’s been exactly one month since the Tsunami devastated so many parts of Southern Asia. I think about what 150,000+ people actually means….a Rose Bowl full of people 2x over…It’s overwhelming and incomprehensible. So many people and so many stories that will never be known. People who had lessons and gifts yet to give to the world. I’m determined not to let my friend Nicole Weissberg be one of those people, so please give me a minute to let me tell you about her. After I have spoken to her boyfriend and family, I am compelled to say goodbye to my friend (although I reserve the right for a miracle to happen.) Admittedly Nicole and I did not have a long history with each other, but when you start off a friendship by traveling with someone for two weeks, 24 hours a day, you get a good feeling for someone’s character. Nicole was one of the most genuine and friendly people I have ever known, yet at the same time she was fiercely private. She was one of those people that if and when she ever opened up to you, you felt truly lucky to be close to someone like her. She listened to you in a way that made you feel special and more importantly she actually laughed at all my jokes! Nicole was finishing up business school at the University of Denver, and even though we didn’t keep in touch as often as either one of us would have liked to, we knew we’d always remain friends.

Nicole had lived all over the world working in Hotel Management and was studying Hotel Real Estate in Business School. She came out to LA every year for a Real Estate conference, and I was looking forward to her staying with me again in January, and in fact received an email from her on Dec 25th telling me she would contact me upon her return to the States and what a good time she was having in S. Thailand. I thought I was well traveled until she once showed me her passport! She had traveled to over 30 countries before her trip this winter to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and finally Thailand. She was traveling alone for a month until her boyfriend Morgan was to meet up with her the last week of her trip in Phuket, Thailand. Nicole was an extremely independent, positive and open minded person. I am sure her trip to Asia traveling alone was a challenge she was excited to take on. She decided to stay in Khao Lak before Morgan got there. Unfortunately, it was the hardest hit beach of Thailand.

Nicole was the first person I met on our trip as we were getting searched by the agents at El Al and we bonded instantly. Often we would have lengthy conversations about where our future would take us. Being in Israel for any length of time, as most of you know, will often lead you to the conclusion that most spiritual journeys start with an identity crisis. Of all the memories I have of Nicole, there is one that stands out. On the last day of our trip in Israel, there was a waterfall on the border of Lebanon that everyone was hiking up. Nicole and I were one of the few that decided to stay behind and just talk. We had an hour on our last day in Israel together, sitting in the sun on a large rock with our feet in the cool running water, to just talk about life. The careers we wanted to have, the type of men we wanted to marry and the what things we hoped to contribute to this world. Nicole was an extreme believer of not living a life of quiet desperation. Nicole wanted to see, try and do everything. She talked about how much her grandfather had wanted her to go to Israel (he had passed away days before our trip). We talked about how cool it was for me to see her experience the Western Wall for her first time and how moving it was for her to spend her first Shabbat in Jerusalem. She wondered if and how this trip to Israel would influence her life.

For these stories and all the ones I haven’t even mentioned, I will miss Nicole. I will miss her mischievous laugh when she was having a little too much fun, I will miss our talks and I will miss having her positive energy in my life.

My rabbi teaches us that from here on earth, we cannot possibly know what is God’s cosmic perspective to understand what happens in the world. We cannot know the answer to human suffering, but the Sages say that when we get to the next world, we are going to look back at all of human history, and see everything as perfect. Even the most tragic events in history will look totally different. Without the limitations of time and space, we will see everything from God’s perspective. But now, being in this world of time and space, the perception is simply inaccessible to us. From this I take some comfort, knowing Nicole and the other 149,999+ people that perished with her are perhaps free and in a better place.

Life is so precious….please tell people how you feel about them now. Thanks for reading and thank you to all that have sent me constant messages of support over the past month.


At 10:56 AM, Blogger RomanWanderer said...

This is beautiful, so sad yet inspiring. Thanks for posting.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Gindy said...

This maybe a weird question, but has her husband (or boyfriend, I can't remember which) returned home or is he still there?

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Thanks RW.

Gindy, I should probably double-check before I answer this but I believe Nicole's boyfriend, Morgan, returned recently after being there for a few weeks. He was in touch with a friend of a friend of mine, who is over there for a while doing work to rebuild. This friend will continue to keep an eye out on the off chance she might be hurt and have amnesia, but everyone seems to now be trying to come to terms with her probable passing.

At 5:36 PM, Blogger Gindy said...

"This friend will continue to keep an eye out on the off chance she might be hurt and have amnesia"

That is basically what I was wondering.


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