Beverly Artz – Gone but not forgotten online
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Beverly Artz

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Four years ago, Beverly Artz's only child, Evan, died of an overdose. When Evan died, two of his friends, Jackie Carroll and Jana Rabinowitz, came to comfort his parents. “Ever since that day — it’s like the craziest thing — but we developed this second family,” Rabinowitz said during a recent interview with BuzzFeed News. Artz, her friends and family say, embraced Carroll and Rabinowitz as if they were her own children. She spent the years following her son’s death working with other moms whose children died from drug addiction, as well as for an organization called We Care Blankets making blankets for children with cancer. They became so close that Carroll’s young daughter, Kaia, called Artz "Grandma." The two of them loved to shop for shoes together. Then, last month, Artz died of COVID-19, the disease caused the novel coronavirus. She was 72. Artz was like the “mayor” of Plainview, the part of Long Island where she lived, Rabinowitz said. She loved animals and would feed and care for birds and raccoons and cats in the area. “She was like Snow White and Willy Wonka mixed,” said Rabinowitz. Not long before she got sick with COVID-19, Artz had surgery on her esophagus. She was recovering well, her family said, but in early April, her husband, Billy, took her to the hospital because she was experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus. One week later, on April 7, she died. “We were so excited about her getting better,” Carroll said during a recent call with BuzzFeed News. “Like, finally we were going to be able to do things, and we're planning for vacations and, you know, fun things to do, or dinners, like finally celebrate Pop's birthday, because she was in the hospital for 51 days, and then she goes into the hospital never comes back.” Artz’s family was not able to visit her in the hospital after she was admitted with COVID-19 and instead communicated by FaceTime. At first, they were hopeful she would recover, and then after a few days, her health took a turn for the worst. “We feel like she just disappeared, that’s the thing. It's this weird feeling of disappearing,” Rabinowitz said. “[Her husband] could barely get any [information] from anyone and then all of a sudden they're just like, ‘Your wife is pronounced dead.’” Artz was a staple in her community, Rabinowitz said, and the women who she works with on We Care Blankets in particular are “lost” without her.