Leslie Fastenberg

Dear Friends, This is a sad day.

I hear her in my head saying - put on a little lipstick….

I want to begin by extending my condolences to the extended family - to her brothers Jeff and Randy - who she loved so much and to Candy and Mark and their families whom she loved like her own

These past weeks and months have been tough.

In these last I found myself getting up earlier and earlier just to breathe the air she’s breathing. Even enjoying the cocktail of our carbon dioxide emissions. Her breathe, breathed life and hope, light and sweetness - it wasn’t the same this morning.

Allyn’s resolve, her constitution - her zest for life, - Emma described her as putting the meaning into hope - and she did - her toughness, her stubbornness, - yes, my friend was stubborn, no doubt a factor in her incredible success as a patient - but all of traits were in full display in this last great battle.

To Ira, Zachary, Erin, Jared your devotion was boundless - and in this sad moment, I want to say how proud I am of all of you and how wonderful your love and care was. What a gift you gave her and to yourselves. To be inspired to love so much - to feel such a deep love that you would do anything for them is everything. of course, she earned that love, by being worthy of such devotion

Believe me, you may not feel it now, but that’s another of her gifts. Teaching you that you are capable of great love, great care, great sacrifice and the lessons and rewards will manifest as blessings in your life, in ways that cannot be understood in this moment.

Ira you moved heaven and earth everyday. Thank you. I remember the week Allyn was diagnosed. David Lerner’s mother died but all I saw were clusters of conversations - Bill, Ira, David and others huddled in deep conversation - I called Allyn and asked, “what is going on?” - I remember her saying, maybe about something in her leg, I have something…. Those moments seared in my mind -

Like when my brother in law Stevie died suddenly, Allyn was my first call when the dust cleared. I remember she was the one screaming into the phone.

I want to tell you about my friend, with her short spunky hair do’s and her hello dolly’s - David and I have been lucky to be friends for over 35 years with Allyn and Ira.

They were at our wedding.

Allyn even came to my rag tag bachelorette party - back in the day when that was just an evening celebration - as my friends gathered fully prepared for a little debauchery, (yes, your mothers could get wild, back then…) Allyn arrived with a plate of brownies - always the southern lady. She never arrived anywhere without something! More about that later -

Later in the night, when we ended up in some seedy club downtown, and were joined by the guys, David and Ira, and the guys from the bachelor party and as we were dancing the night away Allyn said to me “We’re coming back next week” yea, that never happened…. but she loved everything. Found everything interesting. Found everyone interesting.

She loved the garden, a hobby Cheryl, Allyn and I shared. In recent years, she said her garden made her look like an old Italian lady’s garden, overstuffed. She couldn’t pass a home depot without picking up something - a hydrangea or an azalea, - “”for that spot” - and when her garden could take no more, Erin and Leigh and Jared and Ricki could always use one! I have several cuttings from her garden in mine - some that have run amok - and that’s ok.

Back when Judd and Zach were little before cell phones!, and Erin and Jared already had a crazy afternoon schedule, I would often put judd’s car seat into Allyn’s car and drive the carpools with her - the was sometimes the only way to get some talk time in!

She loved caviar! and so do I, so for our birthday’s - unlike some of her other celebrations, for us, we would buy an enormous amount of caviar, thank you Robert Caslow, and drink vodka and gorge on caviar - often times alone, it was heaven. We always made it a party.

In recent years, as Allyn’s health was declining her traveling was limited - My Lauren had told me that the Parisian restaurant Caviar Caspia had opened a pop up at Spring, where she works, for a short time. I told Allyn, I was whisking her away to Paris for the night, for our caviar extravaganza. It was magical. Maybe everything is more powerful, when you know, time is short,

She loved to travel and we were blessed to have traveled a bit together over the years to France, and Israel, the Caribbean, and medical meetings around the country - when my husband still attended those.

She loved her family first and most. Her beloved Ira, who married that sweet little thing when she was a sophomore. If our kids did that int his day any age, we would say, its insane! Goes to show…. Ira and Allyn did it all, all the time - they always wanted to be there for you, if you invited them. They wanted to support and love all their friends, near and dear and less near and less dear.

She loved her magnificent children. Erin she was so proud of you - how you managed all you do! So happy to welcome Leigh and your gorgeous children into her life - when she turned to you at your wedding, clapped her hands and said “get cracking” - you listened ! Great Job.

Jared, you little handsome devil, with a culinary palette that was always sophisticated, since you were a child - thank you for your devotion, and for the joy of bringing Ricki and delicious little Essie into her life and for the gift of this new baby.

and to my darling Zachary, your devotion and love has been a thing to behold. Zach and Judd have been pals since birth - I have vivid memories of them cooking up poison concoctions in the backyard and a particular wrestling match where someone’s ears got chewed on. Zachy, you were just 12 when your mom was diagnosed - too young to be confronted with such a scary reality. But how wonderful that she got to see you grow to be this magnificent man. To love with the fullness of heart that you have shown these last years, means you are capable of a great love. I believe your mom will continue to look over you and guide you to your beshert - so all that fabulous ability to love, doesn’t go to waste!

She loved her customers - who in this room has had the joy of purchasing something in the store from her? She reveled in our happiness and our festivities. Your joys were hers.

She loved her colleagues who she worked alongside for over 30 years. I got a chance to see many of them, as they visited over these last few months. Who knew backstage at London, could be so bawdy? No wonder she had fun.

and finally When one has a dear friend, a bestie, a bff, who has so many other dear friends, one learns to share.

Allyn’s dear friends - too numerous to name…

…and as much as she loved me and David and our kids - and she did….

and I want to say something about the kids -

Allyn had a special place in all my children’s lives and hearts, and served as godmother to Judd at his bris (and Juddy you know how proud she was of you and you too Lauren and Emma- and maybe because I have no sisters or a mother Allyn played the role of auntie, and she had a way, of getting them to download in a way the FBI would envy.

With a simple “So” they would spill details and insights like it was an interrogation. Just another of the things I will miss.

But as much as she loved me and my kids,

that’s how much she loved you and your kids -

Her love was plentiful and it was genuine.

I know we all have stories, of special times, great laughs - because she and Ira put themselves in the path of every fun moment possible. Life lesson here folks - enjoy every sandwich - accept every invitation - she did.

and through her -

we all got to share each others moments and simchas - creating this circle of love that is in this room today. this circle of love that spawned the breakfast club and the dinner club, the birthday group, the Squam lake Group, Tulane friends, medical friends, as an honorary Sultan, friends of friends, it is this web that will continue to gather around Ira, Erin and Leigh, Jarred and Ricki and Zach, and Austin, Alex, Avery and Essie as they grieve, mourn and heal.

to the family I say, Allyn’s deep well of love was bountiful and we were all the beneficiaries. She created reservoirs of love that will now be offered back to you - take it, accept it.

Over these last years and months, she let us offer her back all the love we had for her - she let us bring meals and visits - she accepted our love - she was open to receiving it. She let us love her, That was a gift.

Ladies and Gentlemen, i want to acknowledge that we have been touched by genius - the people that cared for Allyn over the course of her treatment, the doctors and medical teams from Arkansas, Hackensack, Mount Sinai and the massive network of specialists from LIJ, Northshore - pardon me, Northwell. In particular, I want to say -to Dr. Bart Barloggi thank you. To Dr. David Siegel, thank you. your work to conquer myeloma yielded amazingly results in beautiful ways in all our lives - your research resulted in birthdays and holidays, parties and Friday night dinners, phone calls and visits, felt by almost everyone in this room - that’s how impactful your work is. I say thank you from the bottom of my heart for every moment your advancements yielded.

Would we have liked more time - yes - but 21 years folks - remember what we feared back then.

When we walked in to Zach’s bar mitzvah during cocktail hour, Allyn pulled me away to show me the dining room before it opened and said, “I didn’t think I was going to get to see this.” but she did - and she saw birthdays and weddings and grandchildren - and I want to say something special to Alex, Avery and Austin - how lucky I think you are to carry that beautiful A at the beginning of your name just like your Mama-Allyn. That links you to her in a very special way that will forever be a gift in your life. A gentle reminder to always connect you. Your MamaAllyn loved everything about you and reveled in every one of your activities, achievements, milestone. I know you will continue to make her proud.

I could go on, telling stories - of times together, when Bill and Cheryl, and Allyn and Ira and David and I were together - those little pieces of perfection, that we will forever hold in our memories. Friday night dinners with the kids, and without. times together, times alone - I always loved and valued our time together - even the simple visit to Costco or Home Depot was an outing. So many fun times, giggles, comfort - she was alway a soft place to land for me - if I would call and complain about my husband she would always say “He’s so funny…” I would say Al, he’s not so funny, he’s driving me crazy, but she would repeat, “he’s so funny…” Every positive, ever the southern belle.

The challenge now is to go on and make our lives full with out this bright light-

and go on we must

and go on we will -

We look forward to welcoming Jarred and Ricki’s new baby girl -

We will honor Allyn’s zest for life, her kindness and humor - by doing the same. Lesson 2 - Embrace life.

Look, I may be strong, but I’m keenly aware of the of this enormity of this personal loss, the hole in my heart, that frankly, I don’t want to mend right now. - but I am happy she is at peace.

I am choosing in this moment, to feel lucky - lucky for this amazing friend, lucky for the amazing times we had, lucky for the extra time we’ve had, the people we connected through and to, and most of all for the gift of her sweet love -

Allyn always reminded me of my great Aunt Ruthie - I think that is what drew me so close to her from the beginning.

I hope they are together now - along with Bill, Evelyn and Artie, Mayer and Fran & Stevie, Sammy and Betty - and all those we’ve lost in this life who she loved.

Allyn and I were only 4 years apart chronologically but maybe because of our different backgrounds, I would turn her on to new things - like Sushi, or tequila - and sometimes a changing lexicon…

One time after her monthly Hackensack visit, where we would leave early enough for her to be first patient - often to see the sunrise over the GW bridge - we would often marvel at how beautiful the sunrise looked and how lucky we were to be seeing it- lesson 3 - attitude counts - after her visit we’d dash to our favorite diner for breakfast - …so the butchy tatted, waitress comes over to take our order and Allyn said “I’ll have the poached eggs with spinach and my partner will have the same”. You could just see the look on this woman face as she was trying to reconcile Allyn and I as the least likely looking gay couple! Had to explain, that word no longer meant the same. We laughed all the way back home.

We were different, a bit, and I loved her madly and she me and she loved all of you.

Please let us celebrate our beloved Allyn’s life by remembering her beauty, her passion and her light

Rest in peace, my dear beautiful friend, there is no doubt I will miss you all of my life.

May she be bound up in God’s merciful embrace and may her memory be for a blessing in all our lives.

Leslie Fastenberg