Thank You David JacobsonOn Saturday morning, September 7th, a tragedy was encased in treasure. After three beautiful days of family, friends, and Rosh Hashanah, my father felt sweaty, went to the ER, and died. While nothing can reduce the agony of his loss, I was acutely aware, that day in the hospital, that many things could have intensified it…and didn’t. For that, I am very grateful. This is what we were faced with that Saturday morning at 8:30AM.• It was Shabbat; all Jewish businesses are closed • Our beloved Lomdim is self-directed; we don’t have a Rabbi (although we have many rabbis!) and therefore no obvious person to guide us• Shiva was going to be cut short by Yom Kippur; we wanted it to start as soon as possible• My parents hadn’t decided what city they would be buried in, but Chicago wasn’t one of the options• The Contacts in three cell phones (Glen’s, mine and my dad’s), were the only lifelines we hadDavid Jacobson, the owner of Chicago Jewish Funerals, is the father of one of Louisa’s closest friends. We had recommended his funeral home to our friends, on occasion, and had heard glowing “reviews” in return. But Chicago Jewish Funerals wasn’t one of the lifelines in our Contacts (it is now), so we called Louisa (in Baltimore) to call Talia (in Binghamton) to call her dad. Who knew how long that would take! We went to Plan B. Call the funeral home, leave a message and hope that someone checked messages on Shabbat.That didn’t happen. A LIVE PERSON answered the phone at Chicago Jewish Funerals and transferred Glen directly to David. David said he’d come right over.David walked in, in a suit and tie. I thought to myself “you didn’t have to do that. Shorts and a t-shirt, or whatever you were wearing at the time we called, would have been fine.” But I quickly realized, David is a professional and despite being a friend, he wasn’t going to bring any less of himself to the situation. After introducing himself to my mom when he first walked in and expressing his condolences, he said “the answer to anything you ask for is “yes”. I don’t know what we’ll have to do to get to yes, but we will make it happen.” That was the single most comforting sentence anyone could have said at that time. We didn’t know what the questions would be, and we certainly didn’t know what we wanted, but what a relief to know the answer would be “yes”. And, as we came to find out, those were not empty words.David’s first question was “would you like to go into another room where we can spread out some papers and talk?” “No,” said my mom. Leaving my dad alone in the ER bay where we were all congregated was not an option. The smile never left David’s face; despite the obvious inconvenience that was going to be. He started filling out papers on his lap. David asked my mom what kind of a casket she wanted. “One up from a plain pine box” was her response. He showed her photos of caskets. None of the photos looked like the caskets she had seen at the funerals she attended in Cleveland, where my parents lived. She wasn’t able to say “yes” to any of them. David called the funeral director in Cleveland who told him the brand of caskets he used and then got on the phone with casket distributors to get photos of caskets on his phone to show to my mom, while simultaneously researching what it would take to get one casket of a brand he didn’t use to Chicago Jewish Funerals for a tahara that evening. He also worked Plan C – how to transport my dad to Cleveland not in a casket so my mom could choose a casket in Cleveland from among the ones with which she was familiar. Then it was time to figure out how to move my father to Cleveland. Not all airplanes carry caskets so the casket may arrive in its destination city via a very circuitous route. The only way to get my dad home to Cleveland in time for a funeral 48 hours later was via Texas. My mom wanted to travel with my dad; but not via Texas and not at the crack of dawn. Therefore, she wanted to travel by car. And David promised to say “yes” so after Shabbat, David found a driver who would drive my mom and my dad to Cleveland the next morning. That wasn’t even the biggest headache. The Medical Examiner, the guy who physically looks at the deceased and certifies his/her death for the Death Certificate, had already finished his rounds for the day. After all, it was Saturday and he only worked mornings on Saturdays. No one could certify my father’s death until Monday. And, without that form signed by the Medical Examiner, my father couldn’t be taken across state lines. In short, we couldn’t have a funeral on Monday in Cleveland if the Medical Examiner didn’t see my dad until Monday morning. But David had already said “yes” to a Monday funeral and he was determined to keep his promise. He did. You don’t need all the details, but suffice it to say strings were pulled and my father had a nice final drive around Chicago. Although the day was filled with administrative minutiae, and undoubtedly more than the usual stress for David, David maintained his focus on consoling the bereaved. When it came time to move my father to the gurney that would transport him to the funeral home, David set aside the paper work, grouped us around my father and led a very short service. At David’s suggestion, we all lifted my father together and moved him to the gurney. The story goes on, but I’m sure you get the point by now. When David told my mother that the answer to her every request was “yes”, he meant it. That’s the standard he holds himself to. For weeks I’ve tried to think of an appropriate way to thank David. He took an awful day and inserted calm, and hope, and peace. What can I do to show my appreciation?I realized the best way to thank David is to let you, his prospective customers, know about our exceptional experience with Chicago Jewish Funerals. Put the phone number in your Contacts so when it’s your turn for “that awful day”, he will already be one of your lifelines.