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FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN  / The Call. Updated. /  Editorial List

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Gary Barg

The Call. Updated.

This week, as I celebrate my birthday, I also grieve the phone call I will not receive.

“Beware the Ides of March,” as the saying goes. Although it may be true in my case, nothing could have been further from the truth for Sara Kaufman, also born on this date. I met Sara and her family shortly after graduating college. My brother and I were sharing a townhouse in North Miami and the Kaufmans were our neighbors. From the first day, they opened their hearts to us. Sara was only eight years old when we moved into the neighborhood.

Sara was always filled with ideas, concepts and thoughts which spilled out of her so fast, you soon realized she was thinking faster than anyone could possibly talk. Sara became involved in whatever caught her attention, including politics. Over the years, as she grew up and I grew old(er), one gift I could always look forward to on our shared birthday was her bright, cheerful mile-a-minute phone call. She never forgot over these many years, and I never took for granted the joy I felt in these phone calls.

Two years ago, in a senseless automobile accident, we lost Sara. I am saddened by the loss of a force of nature who I know was on her way to making a big difference in many lives as she worked towards entering public life. I grieve for Sara’s friends and family members, and I do not know how I will be able to get through this day without our traditional birthday phone call filled with the life, love and Saraisms that tripped off her tongue, making me smile no matter what else was going on in my life.

I believe that if there is any moral to this story, it is—pick up the phone. Call someone you love, even if you haven’t spoken in a while, even if you are presently battling or nursing old wounds, and tell them that you love them. Trust me—it will make their day and just maybe your day, too.

Sara’s death is made more poignant by some of the disturbing statistics regarding distracted driving as the person who hit her car was by all accounts distracted by texting.

  • In 2009 the year of Sara’s accident, there were 30,797 fatal crashes in the United States, which involved 45,230 drivers. In those crashes 33,808 people died.
  • In 2009, 5,474 people were killed in crashes involving driver distraction (16% of total fatalities).
  • The portion of drivers reportedly distracted at the time of the fatal crashes increased from 7 percent in 2005 to 11 percent in 2009.

As a family caregiver, I can’t think of a single phone call or text that is worth adding to these statistics. Can you?


Gary Barg

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