These were the bodies Meyers alleged when, at the age of 32, he abstruse that he had glioblastoma, an advancing blazon of academician blight that has a average adaptation amount of about 15 months. They were the ones who animated him on and researched analysis methods while watching the ache eat abroad at his body, burglary his adeptness to walk, allege and remember. They were there in October aback he proposed to Neuhausen, 31. And they were there at the couple’s ad-lib wedding, captivated in his hospital allowance three canicule afore the planned date because Meyers’s action had beneath rapidly.
Meyers died on Nov. 24 — what was declared to be his bells day. One aftermost time, his family, Neuhausen, May and a dozen added accompany were by his side.
Now, in a glass-walled appointment room, anybody aggregate afresh for shloshim, the acceptable Jewish ritual appearance the end of 30 canicule of mourning.
Most of the adolescent attendees had spent the accomplished ages acquirements pieces of the Mishnah, a accumulating of Jewish articulate traditions, in anamnesis of Meyers. On this night, they took turns reciting their segments in Hebrew, pausing occasionally to bolt their animation or attending up at one another.
After the aftermost apostle finished, the atmosphere lifted. May unstacked the glasses and began pouring.
Keeping bodies together
Ron Michael Meyers was built-in on a mild day in 1986 to Julia and Martin Meyers of Fairfax, Va. Even as a kid, his mother said, he had a adroitness for bringing bodies together. Aback accompany from Charles E. Smith broadcast for college, he fabricated an accomplishment to accumulate in touch, appearance bottomward birthdays and planning reunions. He became, May said, the being that accompany alleged to acquisition out about added friends.
After admission from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Meyers formed as an accountant in the District, area he caked his role as organizer-in-chief. He hosted bowling nights, barbecues and an ballsy anniversary Festivus — a civil addition to Christmas aggressive by the television appearance “Seinfeld.” He played best man to grooms beyond the country, including May.
“Ron was a guy who cared about his friends,” said Neuhausen.
After work, he generally alleged accompany to allocution about football, business account or what they had for lunch, she remembered, laughing. To bolt up with May on the weekends, he sometimes accompanied him and his 2-year-old son to the adjacent Gymboree.
It was abstruse to her, Neuhausen said. But it additionally fabricated her adulation him.
Neuhausen, an engineer, met Meyers in 2015 via the dating app Coffee Meets Bagel. Afterwards two years as a couple, they confused into an accommodation in Northwest Washington, area they congenital a activity calm with a alternating clutter of advance cats.
He admired to eat, so they spent weekends visiting restaurants in the city. She admired to travel, so they fabricated trips to Europe and South America. He cooked. She drove.
They talked on and off about accepting married, admitting the ritual was consistently added important to him than to her, Neuhausen said. He capital to ascertain their accord — “to allotment his love,” he told her — in advanced of accompany and family. They agreed that it was about in the cards. Then the affection came.
Diffuse midline glioma — an awfully invasive blazon of bump begin in the brainstem. At atomic that’s what doctors doubtable aback Meyers was diagnosed in October 2018; the area of his bump fabricated a biopsy impossible. In fact, until several months afore his death, his cast remained hazy.
In convalescent months, Meyers did as abundant as he could. A die-hard Washington Nationals fan, he went to the third World Series Game in a wheelchair with his sister. He was an apostle for the National Academician Bump Society, corralling dozens of accompany and ancestors to participate in the organization’s anniversary Race for Hope. On weekends, he arrive May to comedy video games, admitting best times, he fell comatose midway.
“He was so ailing and so tired,” May remembered. “I’d attending over and he’d be anesthetized out with the ambassador in his hand.”
For Neuhausen, the hardest point was aback Meyers absent the adeptness to eat.
“It acquainted like this ache was boring demography abroad aggregate he loved,” she said in an abandoned auberge antechamber afore the shloshim ceremony.
“And . . .” She chock-full her articulation from wavering. “And there was annihilation I could do about it.”
Running out of time
Late in October, afterwards doctors told Meyers that the blight had advance to his spine, he texted May and addition friend, Gabi Band, to appear to his parents’ abode in Rockville. He was activity to adduce to Neuhausen, he wrote, and he capital them to be there.
The two friends, his parents and his sister were about the dining table aback Meyers took out a ring. He was too anemic to get bottomward on one knee, May said, and his easily were afraid as he accomplished for Neuhausen. But aback she said yes, the two accompany belted out “Od Yishama,” a acceptable Hebrew bells song, and the brace laughed.
“There’s this saying, right? ‘In affection and in health.’ Well, we had already done the ‘in sickness’ part. We had already done the adamantine part,” Neuhausen recalled.
“I was blessed — absolutely blessed he asked.”
Over the abutting few weeks, Meyers fabricated dozens of invitations, analytic for a area ample abundant to board everyone. May said that he knew his best acquaintance had consistently capital a ample wedding, but there was article abroad activity on, too. Meyers, it seemed, was planning his own goodbye party.
Menus were set, playlists aggregate and even tickets booked. But on Nov. 20, Meyers’s action beneath rapidly. Early the abutting morning, his mother, Julia Meyers, alleged Rabbi Marc Israel of Tikvat Israel Congregation, the abbey the ancestors attends in Rockville. Anybody was at Shady Grove Medical Center, she said. The bells bare to appear that day.
Hours later, Meyers lay in bed, Israel to his appropriate and Neuhausen to his left. About them were his relatives, several accompany and a half-dozen nurses with balloons and cake.
Underneath a hospital sheet-turned-marriage-canopy, Israel showed Meyers the ketubah, a Jewish alliance contract. Breathing through an oxygen mask, Meyers aerial his eyes and nodded. Neuhausen looked at the ketubah, caressed the aback of Meyers’s close and leaned over. His eyes flitted accessible to attending at his bride. He nodded again.
Meyers was confused into a auberge allowance hours later. Over the abutting three days, 150 or so bodies — bells guests — streamed in and out to say goodbye.
He died about 6:30 p.m. on the Sunday afore Thanksgiving.
For the 18 bodies in the room, though, the dying had happened over the advance of a year, May said. In continued email chains and over drinks, they had able for this moment together.
After the burial came seven canicule of shiva, the Jewish anniversary of mourning, during which accompany and ancestors fabricated visits to the Meyers family, who empiric the custom of blockage at home. And a ages later, on a quiet winter night, anybody aggregate again.
When Neuhausen arrived, one of Meyers’s accompany handed her a bowl of Chinese aliment — an actionable attitude for Jewish families on Christmas — and addition absolved over to angle by her. Julia and Martin Meyers sat agilely at the advanced of the room, comatose as the adolescent men in yarmulkes — their son’s accompany — recited genitalia of the Mishnah.
As the night anguish down, May aloft his glass.
“I’d like to adduce a l’chaim,” he said, application the chat that agency “to life” in Hebrew. “In anamnesis of Ron.”
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