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!
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!
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.
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!"
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.
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.
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.)
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!!
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.
you, God, for not letting Harlan suffer.
just wish You'd have given us more time with him!~*
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!
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.
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!
. . .
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!