While local cemeteries aren’t allowing visitors during COVID-19, one Machpelah staff member went out of her way to bring joy to a widower’s day.

By Lynn Rosenthal

Deb, Lynn, Dad and Mom (Photo: Lynn Rosenthal)

On Dec. 25, 2018, my beloved mom and best friend, Bev Rosenthal, passed away. I was inconsolable, as was my entire family, especially my father having been married to his best friend for over 58.5 years. They were inseparable.

After my mom’s passing, my father would visit her grave almost daily at Machpelah Cemetery in Ferndale. It was a routine of his that he had not broken until this past January, when he took a horrific fall on ice, breaking his arm in two places, and then had a heart attack right before the surgery to repair his broken bones.

I had my own routine of visiting my mom at the cemetery until last month when the cemetery closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This week, I called Machpelah to inquire when they thought they may re-open, so I could continue visiting my mom’s grave and take my dad with me, as he missed his daily visits terribly. I spoke with Kim Saville, who couldn’t have been more understanding, sympathetic and kind.

Ms. Saville explained that they did not have a date yet to reopen to the public, and she then listened to me tell her about my dad and his daily visits to his wife’s grave. All of a sudden Ms. Saville excitedly said, “Oh! I know your dad! He comes daily to see your mom. He’s a sweetheart! I clean the snow off the bench for him, as he’s here daily. Is he OK?”

Dad and Lynn (Photo: Lynn Rosenthal)

I then explained what transpired with my dad: his fall, broken arm and heart attack. I reassured her he was OK and recovering at home. I explained that I would visit my mom and that I wished I could take my dad to see her in the near future, but I totally understood and respected their reasons for closing off the cemetery to the public. Ms. Saville then went so far as to offer to send me a photo of my mom’s grave site via email, and she asked if she could send my dad a get-well card, too. I was shocked and surprised that someone would actually go out of their way to do this, and I graciously accepted her kind offer.

A few hours later I received a phone call from my dad. He explained that someone came to his door and handed him a card and an 8 by 10-inch photo of Mom’s grave site! He couldn’t believe it. He was so touched by this gesture, as was I.

I told him about my conversation with Ms. Saville earlier that day, and he said, “Yes, she said she spoke with you and just wanted to drop off the card and photo personally.” I had tears in my eyes as my dad was describing this to me. (He was choked up, too.)

I love to perform Random Acts of Kindness periodically, and when someone else practices this same ritual, especially for my dad, I can’t tell you how much that means. I was touched beyond words. I immediately got on my computer and sent Ms. Saville an email thanking her profusely for her incredibly kind act.

In times of such uncertainty, stress and selfishness in this world, there are human beings who just want to make a difference and do something nice for others. If there were more “Kim Savilles” in this world, it sure would be a different place.

Lynn Rosenthal is an Oak Park resident.

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  1. It was truly a blessing. It may not seem like anything extraordinary to Ms. Saville but, it was incredible to us. She is a special, special person.

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