Letter from the editor: Friend’s death a reminder of life’s impermanence

Executive Editor

Enoch LeeEnoch Lee/Facebook
Enoch Lee was an active area volunteer, church-goer and wanted to become a doctor when he graduated in the spring.

When a student dies, staffers of The Review pen a memorial for the deceased in an attempt to grasp a sense of the person’s legacy. After reading the anecdotal memories of the deceased shared by family and friends, I would feel a sort of vicarious loss. I found myself wishing to have gotten to know them before passing away. In the end, the questions that always arise are the what ifs. “What if it were one of my friends?”

I first knew Enoch as the boy who sat next to me in middle school orchestra class. Even then, he had big hair and an even bigger voice. He maintained a resounding ability to capture the attention of everyone in the room through both music and words. Our journeys aligned as we moved onto the same high school and college. He was always there. There, as Newark High School senior class president, to bring together the often unenthused class of 2011. There to serenade lunch eaters in Trabant. There to rescue me from Brew HaHa! study binges for life chats over coffee (during which he’d lecture about the dangers of excessive espresso consumption).

Enoch was not one for courteous “hellos” or superficial “how are yous.” He took genuine interest in people. This interest often felt unprompted––undeserved even––but even so, he cared. One week before his death, we found ourselves by strange coincidence at Ali Baba for an IsraelU event. Enoch soon moved to sit next to me. Over falafel and hummus, we shared our feelings and fears about what was ahead for us. Enoch still had a knack for making me feel valued, even after months of not seeing each other.

You begin to appreciate everyone in your life when someone passes away. A death reminds you of the impermanence of life, compelling you to love your loved ones just a little more, hug them just a little tighter. Enoch upheld this enduring, personal investment for others, every single day. He was the man of a thousand best friends, never scared to break the barriers that, out of fear or apprehension, too often separate us.

The ease at which he befriended was evident Friday night at Memorial Hall as hundreds of candles lit up the steps. Friends shared their own Enoch stories, each one striking a chord. Some knew Enoch for years, others had just met him that week. Hearing the stories reminded me of the impact just one person can have, simply by caring.

At one point in the evening, a shooting star marked the sky. For someone as special as Enoch, such a farewell could not have been more fitting.

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    Diana Freccia 5 years

    This is a beautifully written piece. I am saddened that such a wonderful life was cut so short. We should all keep his legacy alive in how we treat others.

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