We learned quite a lot in the few months since Harlan’s death. For one thing, we learned the difference between acquaintances, family, and friends. One friend, whom I lost contact with when we moved to NJ, found out about our loss and called to apologize for not being able to make it to the funeral. How surprising, after having lost touch with one another almost 15 years ago! To this day, we are corresponding on a regular basis via either e-mail or snail mail.
Three other out-of-town friends didn’t even think twice about coming to be with the family during this special time. In fact, two of them were on their hands and knees cleaning my kitchen floor for me one evening! How many people do YOU know who would do that for you?! The members of our synagogue became ‘family’ quite quickly when they came together and made sure we had all our needs covered for quite some time. They made sure we had food, clean clothes, everything you normally forget about at a time like this. One neighbor, despite the almost 100-degree weather that June day, mowed our lawn for us and we’ll NEVER forget him for doing that for us!
To this day I still see our synagogue members in a different light. They used to just be friends we saw for spiritual reasons. Now, they are members of our family. and one can never have too many family members! We also discovered that we are not alone. I found ‘Helping and Healing’, a grief support group in Lewisville, TX, and have made many new friends there. We all have experienced a death of at least one child and we help each other over the many hurdles we encounter. The other thing I found, quite by accident, and I am forever glad I came across this Internet web site, was ‘My Parents Are Survivors’. I highly recommend this site to anyone who is grieving for whatever reason. Not only did I become a member of My Mom Is A Survivor but Randy joined My Dad Is A Survivor. Sorry to say, they don’t have one for siblings as yet, since I know Mardi and Daryl would benefit from it.
The main thing we’ve learned is to live life day-by-day. Some days are good and you’re on top of the world. Other days you are so low you don’t think you can go any lower. However, surprise!, you can go lower! The really rough times are your ‘angel’s’ birthday, his/her death anniversary (we haven’t reached that yet but we’re close!), holidays (both religious and nonreligious), other family member’s birthdays, wedding anniversaries, any time you would have been together as a family. Watch where you go and what you do as you may go somewhere that brings memories back. Places you’ve driven together, eaten together, or shopped together can cause tears to flow. Seeing someone who dresses like, gestures like, looks like, smiles like, walks like, or drives a car/truck like your angel’s sometimes hurts. Driving by places he/she frequented, lived, or worked at can affect you in one way or another. Sometimes seeing their friends or hearing their friend’s voices can be bothersome as well.