Every Day Is A Gift
Portraiture by Monni Must
When one imagines hospice,
the mind often conjures up scenes of despair and feelings of sorrow — a no-way-out lonely and hopeless journey. But it doesn’t have to be that WAY.
The Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network
(JHCN) guides jews who are terminally ill in southeast Michigan, giving them a chance to live comfortably, to be with their families, to feel loved and not alone. This gift of unconditional support and care during someone’s last chapter is precious and invaluable. JHCN gives families the strength to share memories, to express regrets, to reconcile relationships, and to live well, even when facing inevitable death.
A grand piano accented the living room.
Like an old friend, Its pearl-colored keys reflected the morning sunlight. Carole Lasser’s right fingertips danced along the keyboard, her eyes vibrant, enlivened by the sounds and memories of what it felt like to play with both hands, freely. For Carole, an accomplished pianist, her piano was a reminder of years of classical training — something which both saddened, yet comforted her. It was familiar, like an old companion. Carole had lost control of her left hand, which rested quietly at her side, a constant sign of her illness. Yet her spirit was lively, her humor quick and engaging, her energy electric and inviting.
A daughter, one of four sisters, a mother of two and a grandmother of one…
Carole surrounded herself with family and friends, and took advantage of the time she had. Her daughter visited frequently from Taiwan, her son from California with his wife and newborn. Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff, her rabbi for many years and now the Senior Director of JHCN, had become one of her most trusted and loving friends. Though the circumstances were not ideal, the chance for all to be together was a gift… . Every Day Is A Gift.
Plagued by brain tumors for nearly 30 years,
Carole’s 64-year-old body finally started to give out. Doctors estimated she had less than six months to live. Though there was nothing doctors could do to cure Carole, there was still so much to be done. JHCN mobilized social workers and clergy to access the best care possible — to hold Carole’s hand and not let go. JHCN stepped in and enabled this vibrant, soulful woman to live comfortably at home, in as little pain as possible.
Carole’s wish was to give all of us a message…
Cherish each moment with your loved ones because… Every Day Is A Gift.
It is a blessing to our community…
… that if any Jew faces terminal illness, there is a team of loving, compassionate people at JHCN who can hold our hand and guide us through this profoundly challenging experience. They will meet us where we are and help us write the last chapter. JHCN helped Carole do just that.
Please join with us…
Friends, Sharing Carole’s story would not have been possible without the strength and conviction of Carole herself. She inspired her family to come together in her time of need — and theirs — and showed the rest of us how life can be celebrated even in the darkest of hours. Everyone is entitled to the same kind of care that Carole received. The Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network has gathered the most amazing mitzvah team. Each team member does this sacred work with all their heart and soul every day. We never charge anyone for our services. This great mitzvah only happens because of your loving support. Please donate generously. God Bless You, Rabbi E.B. (Bunny) Freedman Founding Director and CEO
Click here to donate now.
Or call 248.592.2687 Carole wanted to leave a legacy of vibrant images for her family to remember her by and welcomed portrait photographer Monni Must to document these memorable moments and writer Sabrina Must to compose the narrative. The relationship Carole shared with her family and Rabbi Joseph H. Krakoff was profound for all involved. Carole valued JHCN’s comprehensive hospice care and the ability it gave her to face her fragility, enabling her to find courage, and ultimately, peace. One of Carole’s final wishes was for members of our Jewish community to understand the value of The Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network and contribute to its mission, while giving Jews facing terminal illness the courage to help their loved ones make Every Day A Gift. Thank you, Carole. Your memory is a blessing.
With special thanks to…
Carole’s children Samuel Lasser and Lauren Miller and Rachel Lasser; her grandson Adam Miller Lasser; her parents Jacqueline and Myron Milgrom; her siblings Paula Milgrom and Jim Barnett, Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Tony Dodge, Marianne and Rob Bloomberg; Portrait photographer Monni Must and writer Sabrina Must