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Randy left for Little Rock the morning of Tues., 6/9. Around 12 noon there was a knock on the door and, being home alone, I went to the door to see a Lewisville policeman. Since Harlan has been in trouble in the past, I thought nothing of it at first. I still wasn't in my proper frame of mind when he asked if I was Mrs. Friedberg and if I had a son named Harlan Shawn Friedberg. Still nothing dawned on me when, as in the movies, he asked if we could talk. Of course I said yes! He then suggested we sit down, again just like in the movies. The rest is sort of a blur but I remember his telling me that Harlan had been killed in a car accident. I kept thinking it wasn't true and kept saying so. Finally I asked for details and all he would tell me was that it was a high speed crash with Waco DPS in pursuit. He wouldn't even say if there was anyone in the car with Harlan!
When what happened finally registered, I called Randy on his cell phone. Since I was unable to speak, I handed the phone over to the policeman who talked to Randy. I was then told that he was on his way back home from Little Rock. The next call was to inform Mardi. I called the apartment, hoping her roommate would answer. Thank God, he did! He said Mardi was in class at University of Texas, Arlington but they'd be here as soon as possible. Then I remembered that Daryl was at summer school and was expecting me to pick him up. The policeman called the station and asked if someone could go get Daryl for me but they decided it would be best to just detain him in the school office until I arrived with my 'police escort'. Somehow, I had the forethought to bring along my cell phone, its power cord, and my personal phone book. On the way to get Daryl, I called the Mayfield Hts., OH police department to let my niece, a police officer there, know the news so that she could let the rest of the family know. Telling my niece was difficult so, once again, I had the policeman take the phone. Seeing Daryl in the office, waiting to find out what happened was heartbreaking as well. Harder still, was breaking the news to HIM!
By the time the policeman, Daryl, and I got back home, Mardi and her roommate had arrived. Since we were concerned about the valuables in Harlan's apartment, Mardi's roommate took off to take care of things for us there. In the meantime, we told the policeman we would be all right and he left with the parting words ". . . if there's anything more I can do for you, please let me know . . .". He was SUPER! The rabbi from my synagogue and his wife came by, then other members of my synagogue starting calling and showing up. (I had called another friend/rabbi as well as other members earlier). Randy came home and we were finally all together again, minus one. By then the word was out and the phone rang constantly. The day ended with a trip to the airport to pick up my sister, Penny, from Cleveland, OH.
Wednesday Randy and I left Daryl and my sister home while we went to the funeral parlor to make the plans. You have no idea, and I hope you never will know, how tough it is to make plans to put your child to rest. We picked out his coffin then decided on an urn for him. The last thing we had to do was to say our last good-byes. He looked like he was sleeping. I tried to wake him up. I touched him and he was cold. I kissed him and he was cold. I hugged him and cried over him for some time. His eyes were closed and I opened them one last time. I had to close them back up again. I hope I never have to experience something like that again. He was just so cold! We were given two bags with his clothes and shoes in them. I held the bag on my lap the whole way home. When I walked into the house, I told my sister "I brought Harlan home!"
Thursday was hectic as we chose what Harlan would wear (an eagle shirt, he loved eagles!], underwear, black jeans, white socks, and his newly purchased shoes) and take with him (his Star Wars towel from when he was little and two bags of Knott's Berry Farm Raspberry Shortbread cookies). He always took the towel wherever he went and never left the house without at least two bags of the cookies. Randy dropped the clothes, and other things, off at the funeral parlor.
Thursday night Randy's mom, and his brother came in from Cleveland, OH, as did his nephew, from San Diego, CA. They stayed at Randy's sister's home in McKinney, TX. Also on Thursday, our former backdoor neighbor, who moved to Kansas City, MO, came in, as well as my good friend from Cleveland, OH. The wife of our rabbi from NJ came in from Michigan City, IN, where they had moved seven years ago. Randy's dad came in, also from Cleveland, OH, Friday morning.
Harlan's funeral was Friday. We had both rabbis do the officiating. After the services, Randy and I said our last good-byes then we asked the family to do so, if they so wished. It made me feel good to hug the casket one last time and everyone else seemed to appreciate being able to say their last good-byes as well. One rabbi's portion of the service seemed to be from the book and the other's portion was definitely from the heart. I was so glad our friend/rabbi could do us this favor! A long time friend of Harlan's, and the family, said a little something about him as well. It was beautiful! Mardi's roommate was too broken up to say anything. Not only that, but he went above and beyond the call of duty seeing that the apartment was secure and giving Mardi all the emotional support she needed. (Harlan befriending this young man was one of the best things he could have done for us all. This young man called us "ma'am" and "sir" for a long time until we got tired of hearing it. By mutual agreement, it later became mom and dad.)
Randy's dad, brother, and nephew, as well as our friends from out of town all left sometime Saturday. Saturday and Sunday were spent sitting around and receiving friends. Monday was about the same, but with fewer visitors. Tuesday Randy and I left his mom, my sister, and Daryl home while we went to work the concession stand at Starplex Amphitheater for our synagogue. (This was/is a fun fund-raiser we do every year). James Taylor was performing that evening and it was a nice way for us to get away from it all, and make money for our synagogue at the same time. Since the accident had occurred only a week prior, there were some tough moments there for Randy, Mardi, her roommate, and me but we all survived it and were glad we did! Randy's mom left on Wednesday so the only out-of-towner, at this point, was my sister. We left my sister home while we dropped Randy's mom off at the airport since it was time to bring Harlan home for the last time. (This time I held HIM on my lap the entire drive home.) Once more I walked in carrying him and told my sister "Harlan's home for the last time!" I really needed family here at this time and I was so glad that my sister was able to stay!!
Thursday was another tough day. My sister joined Randy, Daryl, and me while we drove to Waco to see where the accident happened and to see the truck before it was sent to the salvage yard. We stopped and bought a plant to leave at the scene of the accident then drove on to see the truck. My sister remained in the car the entire time. I kept touching the driver's seat of the truck and continued stroking the blood on the side of the door from the cut on his forehead. The blood was dry but it was a part of Harlan and I needed to touch it one last time.

*~Thank you, God, for not letting Harlan suffer.
I just wish You'd have given us more time with him!~*
Things wound down a bit and by Friday my sister and I were ready to go out for a bite to eat with a friend/the religious school director from our synagogue. She and the wife of the president of our synagogue have been the bricks and mortar that have held us together during this entire time. They, and their husbands, have been super.  As has all the members of our synagogue!
Saturday we dropped my sister off at the airport and were alone once more. I really didn't want her to leave but I knew that the time was right. We had Starplex that evening and by unanimous decision we decided Daryl would join us this time. We all felt it was too soon to leave him home alone with his thoughts. Our contract states that we may not have anybody under the age of 18 in the booth with us but . . . oh, well! That evening we were all together . . . Randy, me, Mardi, Daryl, and Mardi's roommate.
I am writing this Sunday, June 21st, one of our 'firsts'. This is our first Father's Day without Harlan. Randy is out with Daryl right now and I am home alone with my thoughts. Mardi, and probably her roommate, will be by tonight when Mardi gets off from work. We have no plans for today. I haven't bought any gifts or cards. I just have no desire to drive or spend money. I did manage to send a card to Randy via e-mail. I guess you could say I 'bared my soul' to him in it. I have no desire for anything more than a hug and sometimes I don't even want that. I feel like a huge part of me has died and I don't know what to do. I can't stop thinking about Harlan and crying. He'd given us problems most of his life but we loved him just the same. I just wish I could tell him so now!

Dad . . . 
take care of Harlan and remember I love you both so much! Please watch over Mom for me and let me forgive my other sister and my brother for not being here when I needed them. My sister, who came to be with me, needs your attention as well. She has been so strong and I need her strength right now. Last, but not least, do not forget about Daryl, Mardi, Randy and me. We all need you now and will continue to need you for a l-o-n-g time!