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A Tribute

April 2, 1994 –

February 14, 2013

Eitan Story

Eitan Samuel Stern-Robbins

A Real Pot of Gold

Eitan and Lisë were our pot of gold at the end of an I-95 rainbow. Last August (2012), my son Reid and I set out for freshman orientation at the University of Miami. En route Reid decided to check in with his assigned roommate to find out if he wanted to get a fridge for the room the following day. The answer was that his roommate had backed out of the arrangement and was getting a different room. My heart sank, I think much more than Reid's, as he just logged into his UM account and discovered that now his roommate was to be "some kid named Eitan." We had no clue how to properly pronounce his name, but hoped we could tackle that one with grace when we met. Reid contacted Eitan, and they determined that they would meet at the room the next day, after they endured the last pre-college supper with their respective moms.

When Reid and I arrived at the dorm, there was the pot of gold awaiting us in Hecht "MTX," room 1005. Lisë helped us with pronunciation (Ay-tahn), and her and my connection seemed as instantaneous as the boys'. Eitan and Lisë thoughtfully gave us privacy to move in, and left us to our unpacking devices.

After Eitan returned, I walked away with those intestinal butterflies I think all moms get when leaving their freshman for the first time. Five minutes did not pass before I received a text from Reid: "He's totally cool. It's going to be fine." And so it was, way better than fine, from the first moment Eitan and Reid, and Lisë and I, met. The next day I was allowed to set foot in the room long enough to deposit a fridge and shoot a short video (check the menu under "Videos" on this site). After the fridge was installed, Reid said he was going to work out. Eitan said, "Mind if I come with you?"; the answer "Of course not, man." Off they walked, and I smiled inside and out at their brotherly look, same height, similar build, and shared penchant for basketball shorts.

Unfortunately, getting details (or even phone calls) from my sons is like getting our government to agree, but the general impression I was provided by Reid was that we had won the roommate lottery. While no two people can possibly live in a hotel-room-size space without a ruffle, I was never told of any waves, just smooth seas.

The last weekend of October, Reid, Eitan, Michael, and Ranuk came to my home, surely for the exclusive purpose of celebrating my birthday. Eitan would not have won the sound nutrition award that weekend, but he won me over with his great manners, sense of humor, and most of all close friendship with Reid.

Ranuk, Michael, Eitan, Reid

Come Thanksgiving Eitan was going to visit again, but Lisë is so thoughtful that she flew him home, as a courtesy to my father who had just been hospitalized and given a pacemaker. I am so glad now that Eitan had the great family time that he did that weekend, much as we would have enjoyed having him at our home.

Speaking of thoughtful Lisë, she became a dear friend the moment I met her, so warm, sensitive, smart, compassionate, and supportive. She once told me how surprised she was to learn that Eitan was the only boy on his floor who had experience doing laundry. That's because Lisë is an incredible mother, as evidenced by Eitan's sense of responsibility, maturity , spirituality, creative side, and his broad life experiences.

I am so sad, angry, and troubled that Lisë has to endure the unimaginable pain of an Eitan-shaped hole in her heart. He will always remain in her heart, and in our thoughts, prayers, and hearts as well.

I don't think we met Eitan and Lisë by random chance, and we are eternally grateful that we did.

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Share Your Eitan Story

It means so much to learn about who Eitan was in the world. Please email Lisë your story – can be for my eyes only, or to publish here, just let me know.

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