Earlier this week, my friend Randi was concerned – she hadn’t heard from her 35-year-old son Ben that day which was unusual. On Tuesday, she noticed he hadn’t posted on Facebook and wasn’t responding to phone calls. So she drove directly to his Brookline home and … she found his body. He had died somewhere during that period of time. The autopsy is still pending, but they believe it was natural causes.
I’ve set up a fundraiser to help their family with his final expenses. The plans are not finalized, but they intend a cremation with a simple memorial service.
Randi tearfully told me about her fear that he was alone when he died. That’s a terrible heartache for her. No platitude can help, but we can show Randi that she is not alone now by helping her with this task of making final arrangements. She works fulltime as the manager of the food pantry at the Pittsburgh AIDS Task Force as well as a part-time job. Randi also has two other adult sons. In addition to helping everyone with their grief, they have one week to rehome his cats, pack up his house and all that sort of thing before they have to return to work.
In 24 hours, we’ve raised almost 50% of the funds needed to pay for the cremation, the memorial service and the obituary. The donations go to Randi’s bank account. I know Ben touched thousands of lives and hope that together we can help his family say good-bye.
People have asked how else they can help. I think some meals for the family during the week would be appreciated so perhaps gift cards for that purpose.