Monday, September 29, 2003
Jack lost his first tooth! On Friday, in the car with Mommy, Jack wriggled a loose tooth right out of his mouth. How about them apples. He is truly a big boy now. Jack was very proud of himself and we were very proud, too. He made out really well from the tooth fairy. I asked him if he remembered when you had those 5 or 6 teeth pulled last year and bought both him and you Game Boy Advance players with all of the cash you got. I bet you realized there were multiple tooth fairies who looked out for you.
When Jack pulled out his tooth he was on his way over to Nana and Papa Sy's for dinner before Erev Rosh Hashanah services on Friday night. Michael, Rachel, Joshua, Emma and Sam were all there running around as usual. When we sat down to eat Papa Sy made a toast and said he knew you were there with us. Jack added that he knew you were sitting in the empty chair right next to him and Michael. I know he wished he could show you his tooth. I cried. Mom cried.
After we had a little to eat, Mom and I rode the Vespa down Connecticut Avenue to Adas. Joe and Jack hung out at Nana and Papa Sy's. We had no trouble finding parking. That was cool.
Services were good. We were back in the main sanctuary where we had your funeral. Judah Drelich and his parents sat next to us. I had trouble getting through the Mourner's Kaddish. Jen Klein said that she was thinking back to your funeral when she came to services in the main sanctuary. She said she got sad. It helps to hear people tell us they are sad and they miss you. Here is something from a new book I am reading a book called "The Lord is My Sheperd, Healing Power of the Twenty-Third Psalm," by a Rabbi named Harold Kushner. He and his wife lost their little boy, too. I always thought the Twenty Third Psalm was read for the person who died, but it is for the people left behind.
Should you know someone who has suffered a loss, whether the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, or loss of a relationship, and you hesitate to contact your friend because you feel inadequate to the situation, because you are not sure you have the words to help her, please overcome that hesitation and reach out to your friend. Call her, visit her. You don't have to say anything besides "I'm sorry, I feel bad for you." Humans are nourished by relationships, and your friendship, your going out of your way to show concern, has the power to heal a person's soul."
Hen, it is so weird that to this day people who are incredibly close to us don't know how to talk to us about you or how they feel. I wish they would. It makes Mommy and me feel alone sometimes.
Speaking of Rabbis, have I got a doozy of a story for you. I was at Rosh Hashanah services on Saturday (in the chapel where we had Shabbat sing) and who was sitting there but the one and only Dr. Ali Mendelson. Your favorite resident. Here is an email that she sent to you last Rosh Hashanah.
From: AliMerid@aol.com [mailto:AliMerid@aol.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 10, 2002 10:26 PM
Subject: Re: L'shana Tovah
Thank you so much for the lovely picture and note. You look so handsome on your first day at school! I'm going to print it and put it up on my fridge right now!!
I hope you're doing well, and that g-tube is helping you gain some weight!!
Have a happy and a sweet New Year!
(L'shana tova umetukah!)
Love, Dr. Mendelson
I was a little confused because I had never seen Dr. Mendelson at Adas before. We talked for a bit and she told me a fantastic story. At your funeral she was sitting next to a young man and she asked him how he knew you. He explained that he didn't know you when you were alive. But he had heard so much about this boy named Henry, about how special you were, that he had to come to your funeral to get to know you as best he could, even in death. That young man was Rabbi Jeremy Winaker, and he came to Adas when Rabbi David left. Here's the good part. Dr. Mendelson and Rabbi Winaker started dating not too long after meeting at your funeral. Isn't that amazing. Not only have you saved lives; you have helped people find love.
There is more to tell you about High Holiday services, but it is late and I have to go to bed. I sent out an email to people inviting them to your unveiling. I know I probably missed people, but hopefully everyone who would want to come will make it. The cemetery called today and asked me to come out and check out the headstone. They just got it from the bronze guys. I wonder what that will be like.
From: Allen Goldberg [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, September 29, 2003 11:17 PM
To: 'Friends & Family'
Subject: Please Join Us on Sunday, October 26
On Sunday, October 26, at 10:00 a.m. there will be an "Unveiling" of Henry's headstone at Judean Memorial Gardens, located at 16225 Batchelors Forest Road in Olney, Maryland. We invite you all to join us for this traditional ceremony. Please mark the date.
In addition, on Saturday, October 25 -- what would have been Henry's eighth birthday -- there will be an evening fundraising concert featuring recording artist Cindy Bullens to launch the Hope for Henry Foundation. The Foundation has been created to support programs to improve the lives and nurture the spirits of children and families living with Fanconi anemia and other life-threatening illnesses. The Foundation will continue to spread the magic that Henry brought to the world during his short life. More information on the concert will follow shortly.
Thank you all for your kind thoughts and for your support during the last few years of Henry's illness and the months since his death.
Allen and Laurie and Jack and Joe
I'll write more soon.
Good night love bug.