Donna Smilovitz ded and obituary, Dr. Donna Rockwell Smilovitz, 66, of Franklin

We’ve been thinking a lot about life and death lately. Terrorists killed hundreds of civilians in Israel over the weekend, including babies and grandmothers, in a massacre that shocked the world. The rocket flew. War has been declared. It was something that felt so huge that all other events had to be pushed to the wayside.

But humans don’t operate on one street. I remember when these planes crashed into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 – another shocking terrorist attack – at the same time my wife got the call that her grandmother had died. It felt like an impossible juggling act, grieving for the masses and grieving for a loved one.

so. History always repeats itself. On the same day that Hamas attacks on innocent Israelis were announced, I received a call from my good friend Bernie Smilovitz, the long-time sports anchor for WDIV-TV. We’ve been friends since the 1980s.

In a shaky voice that I could barely hear, Bernie told me that his wife of 38 years, Donna, had died in the middle of the night from a sudden blood clot. She woke up and said her heart was racing. She left after a few minutes. She died in his arms.

Let me tell you about Donna Smilowitz. She is a light. A supernova. A small body contains a huge amount of human energy. She is endlessly curious, hopelessly intelligent, loving, compassionate, and often hysterically funny. She has red hair, a sweet, husky voice, and a light, contagious laugh. She had big curious eyes, but she was all ears. Donna can listen just as Miguel Cabrera can play ball. If you have a problem, you can call them anytime, day or night. “Tell me,” she said. You can.

Listening is an art that Donna practiced every day with friends and family, as well as in her early days as a young reporter in cable news, and later—after she left this world to focus on motherhood—as a clinical psychologist . Back to school for a Ph.D. As a Ph.D. Donna Rockwell (her maiden name) was widely respected in our community, visiting patients, writing articles and speaking frequently on radio and television. Her two careers, journalism and psychology, are a perfect fit for her because both insist that what others say matters.

It was heartbreaking last week as hundreds of others gathered to say goodbye to Donna. Not just because half the people there felt like she was their best friend. Not just because we loved her and loved hearing her stories and seeing her laugh and eating together or looking at pictures of her grandchildren.

Not just because, at 66, she looked so healthy, vibrant, energetic, and so far removed from death that mourners at her memorial service always expected someone to say, “Sorry, there was a mistake, Donna. ,I am fine”.

The stunned expressions and trembling voices of her immediate family were heartbreaking. From their tearful expressions, we can see how cruel it is to have their lives taken away.

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