Here are the updates from April 2001.

Apr. 2, 2001 Apr. 4, 2001 Apr. 6, 2001 Apr. 17, 2001
Apr. 18, 2001 Apr. 19, 2001 Apr. 24, 2001 Apr. 29, 2001

Apr. 2, 2001

*MAJOR SIGH* It's so hard. Every day seems to get harder and harder. Friday night after dinner I sat and cried and cried. Shabbos morning I got up and went into his room. I stood there looking at all his stuff and crying for over an hour. All day Sunday I was searching in his room. I don't know what I am looking for, but there has to be something somewhere that will help me to feel connected to him. I don't feel him close to me the way I did before he was gone. When he was alive, I felt him near me always, even when he was in Disney and I was here. Now I can't feel him. I miss him so much, his hugs, his kisses, his puffy cheeks. Everynight he would fall asleep with his closet light on and his walkman blasting. Each night I would come in and turn off his light and walkman, kiss him on the cheek, and whisper in his ear, "Good night Yossi, Mommy loves you." A couple of nights I have said good night to his yahrtzeit candle, but it's not the same. Today I was thinking, after 120, when I finally see him, for him it will be like a second. (There is no concept of time in the next world.) For me, it will be a lifetime. The only sorta good thing to come out of all this is that I no longer fear dying. I know he will be there for me. Last night the grief was overbearing to me. I called a good cyberfriend of mine, Gigi. (She is the one who started the gold pins in memory of her daughter Kelsey.) We spoke for over 2 hours. I know I would never do anything to hurt myself, but I can truly understand now why people would get to feel like that. The pain is so strong, it takes over my whole body, and engulfs me. I just need to find that something that will make me feel better. I need something to feel the void in my life and the hole in my heart.
We are going to counseling on Thursday. It will be a very busy day. First Michoel has to do the siyum (celebration party of the completion of learning). Then we will head off to the cemetary for the unveiling. Finally, we have the counseling. Tonight at dinner, Goldie said she didn't want to go. Shauly also doesn't want to go. And Chanie, who was supposed to stay by my in-laws for the first session wants to go. So I guess we will probably end up taking all the kids except Sruli.
As far as the fund raising for the high school ... right now we have $4,000 the school has received. The bank account that was set up for Yossi has $900, and we cashed all the bonds that Yossi got for his birth, which puts us at another $900. The total is almost $6,000, which is 1% of the way there!
Last year when Yossi's bonds came due, he and I debated about cashing them. He decided to wait until his Bar Mitzvah to see what to do with them. Now he isn't here to decide. It bothers me that I put it off, and now he is the loser. Well, he isn't the loser since he will get a great big zchus. I know that there is a book that one of his counselors from camp sent him last year at Pesach (Passover). It arrived just as the holiday ended, and I put it away for him for this year. I know it was beyond my control, but it still makes me feel bad.
Today I was trying to think how Yossi would handle this if he were here. I honestly don't know, but I know he lived life to the fullest. He was never outwardly upset to us. I think to that last night here in Richmond. He danced and partied and had a super time. I hugged my friends and cried and cried. I wish I could be brave like he was, and just get on with life. It's way to short. I am going to try and take some of his attitude ... Yossi always lived his life to the fullest. He enjoyed it. He wanted things that would last. When he did his Make-A-Wish 3 years ago, I told him he should take a trip to LegoLand (in CA). He always wanted to go there, but he chose a computer. Why? Because a trip would be done in a week. A computer lasts longer. (I know, I am using it as I type now.) I just miss him sooo much, I feel like I am losing my mind.
We got a package in the mail today from Chaya Miller, one of the many ladies who took care of my kids while we lived in the hospital with Yossi. It is so evident from the pictures that not only did these families care for them, they also loved them. I think that is part of the reason they are doing so well. I can't say enough how appreciative we are for both communities for everything they did and are doing.
Lessons from Yossi for today, live life to the fullest because you don't know what tomorrow is going to bring. (That by the way is also from my cyberpal Patty!) Please keep doing all the good deeds for Yosef Chaim ben Michoel Dovid HaLevi. (If you haven't sent a donation to the school, it's never too late!!!)

Apr. 4, 2001

Tomorrow will be a hard day. In one way, I am looking forward to going to the cemetary to "see" Yossi (A"H). But on the other hand, I would much rather see him in our house, in his room, or anywhere but there. Unfortunately, HaShem didn't ask me MY opinion on what I wanted to have happen. As someone said, this isn't the Hollywood ending I wanted. Part of what is so unbelievable is how quick it happened. When Yossi first got sick 3 1/2 years ago, we used to be upset because we felt that if had "caught" the Leukemia 3 weeks earlier, then he might not have been high risk. Now I see that is truly not the case, as we were told many times before. For his relapse, we caught it so early. Infact, it was so early, there was never any cells in his marrow visiable under the microscope. So technically, according to the definition of remission (less than 5% cells in the marrow), he was still in remission. Infact, at the time of his relapse, his marrow was better than before his transplant. (There were 3% blasts in his marrow then, NONE now... Thank you Neal, super donor.) So I feel that this answers my question of catching it early. We got it so early, but we did everything we could. I don't feel that we did anything "wrong". 6 1/2 months ago, my son was fine, so it seemed. 7 months ago, I was planning a bar mitzvah. Now I am preparing myself for visiting my son at his final resting place. Over the last 3 1/2 years, I have gone back and forth on whether it is better to have your child sick for so many years, and than die, or to have your child taken from you suddenly. I still don't know that answer, except the latter leaves you with no chance to say Goodbye, and the former has you watching your child suffer. I guess both ways are horrible. I hope I can never find out the answer.
I did make a mistake in my last update, as was pointed out to me by Bob K. I said that nothing good came out of all this. Yes, there was a lot of good. The prayers, good deeds, and such. But for me personally, there wasn't too much good. I know now how precious life is. I know it's so fragile. We don't think when we wake up in the morning that this could be our last day. It is weritten somewhere that we should treat each day like the last (doing as many good deeds as possible, etc.) I can't honestly say that I do that even now. Maybe part of it is the tremendous hole that is in my heart. It is beyond anyone's wildest imagination to try and picture never seeing your child again... Never ever ever ... not at camp, or a friend's house ... they will never for as long as you live talk to you again ... won't grow old or laugh or play or learn or anything ... Never to hold your child in your arms ... I know I keep harping on this, but if you are lucky enough to never have lost your child, you just don't understand what kind of pain this is. I really thought that since Yossi was sick, I could imagine when Michele lost Missy. But you don't. Thank G-d you don't! Even those with sick kids don't "get it".
One last thing. I found a cool thing in Yossi's room last night. First I found a story he wrote about Purim that I will post soon. (I also typed up Rabbi Sherman's speech and will get that up soon.) Then, I found a paper that Yossi folded up as a book. On the cover, he traced his hand. Then he wrote in a column the following words: drawing, acting, singing, math, pranking". I guess these were things he liked to do. Inside the book is page with a smiley face and the words "watching Dragonball Z, playing video games, watching TV, playing game". Then there is a frowny face with the words "shots, medicine, nitmares, vegetables, hurting self, bon marows, spinal taps". He never told us this. I am not sure what to make of the final list -- lisp, mad, great dad, carzy, fritend, funny, good, frends, mother, thanking, dress, make believe. I don't know... I have a feeling that this book was written closer to when he first go sick because of the size of his hand. (His hand was almost as big as mine in the hospital, and here it's much smaller.) I guess I will never know.
We will take a picture of the headstone tomorrow, please G-d. Talk to you tomorrow.

Apr. 6, 2001

First of all, I have finally put Rabbi Sherman's speech up from the funeral. You can find it below.
This morning we went to the cemetary for a small unveiling. It was a very intimate group, as we didn't really tell a lot of people. It was basically that we thought to inform people last yesterday, and if you didn't know about it, please don't feel bad. So we said 3 chapters of tehillim. Then Michoel said #13, Yossi's tehillim for the next weeks. After that, Michoel and his father said the mourner's kaddish (prayer for the dead). Everyone left a stone as a sort of calling card that they were there. We didn't know that Rabbi Ron was going to tell everyone to do this, so we had already put our stones there. (The kids found some stones from around the house to put on the headstone.) Every time someone goes, they are supposed to leave a stone to show that they were there. I am really sorry, but the pictures really turned out to be quite poor in quality. We are planning to go back after Passover, so we will try to get a better one then.
Click here! Since the text is all in Hebrew, I made it a page to show you the words and their meanings. It was very hard to see my bachor, first born, lying in the ground. This close to Pesach I should be worrying about cleaning or cooking, not headstones. I was vey happy that my close friends managed to come. It's very hard at this time of year to slip away for even an hour, and I greatly appreciate the women who were able to do it. (I also understand for the ones who couldn't.)
We are going to Baltimore for Passover. We are going to be staying in a hotel that becomes kosher for Passover. We will be there with two other families from Richmond. (My friend Judy and her family and our neighbor Debbie and her family.) I think that it will make the sedarim (2 seders, Passover dinners) easier for us. I just can't bear the thought of sitting at our table as we always do, and not seeing his beautiful face. For the last 12 years we have had the sedarim with my in-laws. I know it will be hard for them to make the seder all by themselves, with no kids. But I just couldn't sit here. With all the kids in our combined group, it will be pretty chaotic. So this time chaos will be good.
I think about past Passovers. Yossi loved all of Jewish holidays. We had a babysitter years ago who I still keep in contact with. She wrote to me after the funeral that she will always remember how Yossi felt bad for her because she didn't get to celebrate our holidays. (Something like that, right Laura?) He loved to peel the carrots and the potatoes. He loved to line the counters and help me clean things out. He also enjoyed cooking. If I remember correctly, he was supposed to line the counters himself this year. Oh well... just another never. Add that to the beautiful Hagadah he got last year from his counselor Shmueli and he never got to use it. His matzah cover that was new last year, used once. And don't even get me started on his tefillin! I am going to quit while I am ahead. Good night!

Apr. 17, 2001

Well, after a well deserved break, I am back. I didn't write during Pesach, and it was a much needed break for myself. But I am all ready to pour my heart out to whoever wants to hear...
We left the Friday before Pesach. Baltimore is a 3 hour drive, so we arrived with plenty of time to unpack and see the hotel. It was a very nice hotel. The sederim were not hard in the sense that we were in a large dining room with close to 400 people. We sat at a table with the two other Richmond families, Debbie and her 2 daughters and Judy, her husband Max, and their 3 kids. So between all of us, we had a lot of kids! There was much welcomed chaos to distract us from feeling like Yossi was missing. We made it through the first days OK. Michoel got really down after that, and was missing Yossi terribly. One thing that has actually worked out quite well for the two of us is the timing to our depressions. I got down the week before Pesach, and he got down the week during. I guess it's working out so one of us is majorly down at a time. Chol Hamoed (the imbetween days of the holiday) were spent in the hotel. The kids went on day trips which they hated. (They claim the counselors were mean. They were only trying to make sure that every kid who left for the trip returned. Real mean, huh?) The afternoons were spent in the pool. Goldie's new bathing suit is so faded from the amount of time she spent at the pool! Thursday was a really nice day, as my friend Michele came with her two kids. I had hoped that Goldie and Hannah would talk some, since they are both in the same situation. But it didn't happen, and I fizzled out on Michele for Friday. OH YEAH! I can't believe I forgot to mention this! On Saturday, Judy accidently got some matza in my shaitel (wig). This was the really expensive one I had splurged on for Yossi's bar mitzvah back in December. Later that evening, when I tried to brush the crumbs out, they wouldn't come out. I looked real close, and saw that my shaitel had NITS! I was so surprised by my reaction. Pre-Yossi's peteriah (passing), I would have been really upset. It probably would have ruined my whole evening. What I did do was put the shaitel in a ziploc bag, and check both of my girls. I had Goldie and later Michoel check me. I also looked at my other shaitel. Everyone was clean. Michoel was teasing me during the seder that night about kineem (lice, one of the 10 plagues brought down on the Egyptians to influence Paraoh to let the Jews go). Later in the week, Judy and I went to an underground "robe lady". (This lovely woman sells robes out of her basement, and she also sells and styles wigs.) Judy had told me to bring the wig with me. When I told Linda about the wig, she said it was normal for this type of hair to have nits. When I mentioned that I had bought it for my son's bar mitzvah, and he had passed away, SHE REALIZED THAT I WAS YOSSI'S MOM. She had been following our site. She had her daughters pick the nits out, and return the shaitel to me the next night!
One of the hardest parts of the week was meeting new people. These other people would see me with my four kids, and automatically assume that Goldie was my oldest child. Infact, one woman asked me if she was. (I told her she was my oldest DAUGHTER.) I felt like it was disloyal to Yossi not to mention him. But then again, it felt like a very intimate part of my life. Not to mention the fact that I would start crying. I did meet a very nice lady from Williamsburg whose husband had just finished chemo. Of course I told Sarah about Yossi. Then I met a super woman named Leslie. She knew Debbie from a different year. She was another woman I felt comfortable telling about Yossi. I had made an album of pictures and another album of Yossi's work to bring with me. It was very hard to leave and not have a "piece" of him with me. So that is why I brought those. Finally, there was a very nice lady whose husband like to sing. There was one song he kept singing which was a song that Yossi really liked. One night the kid at the next table was wearing a Superman tee-shirt. Her husband was singing Keevah Moed, and I lost it. I just cried. I went over to her, and told her about Yossi. I don't know what compelled me to tell her, but I just felt like I had to. Sharona later turned out to be someone I could talk to when we had a chance.
For me the worst part of the whole time was Saturday. This was Yossi's English birthday. In the last 13 years, I have never really paid any attention to his birthday other than to think of his birthday time. (4:14 ... It's a game my mom made up with us ... At the day/month you were born, that is your birthday time. I am 7:16 and my mom is 7:17. For some reason, Yossi was the only one we ever think of during his birthday time.) We celebrate all of our Hebrew birthdays, which alternate from year to year. (The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar while the Secular calendar is solar. That is why the days come out different from year to year.) So, I was teary all day Saturday. I cried all afternoon, and finally lost it around 5:pm. Yossi was born at 5:09 pm, and all I could think of was 13 years ago I had this incredible bundle, and so much to look forward to. I didn't even really know kids got cancer, and I had never met someone who had lost a child. My life was so perfect back then. I remember the excitment the first week after he was born when I was able to add a candle for him when I lit my Shabbos candles. Since Yossi is a first born, his baby book so full. I made monthly notes about what he was up to. After his first year, I still made frequent entries up until around when Shauly was born, and life started to get too complicated. Michoel and I were able to spend some quiet time together, and just talk about Yossi. Of course I have to make myself nuts with all the what if questions. The worst part of that game is not knowing if you are right or wrong. (What if Yossi wouldn't have had a t-cell depleted transplant the first time? Well, he might have gotten horrible GvHD, and died 3 years ago. Or he might have gotten some, and never have relapsed.) I know that this is what HaShem has decided. I know that anything we might have tried differently would have had the same result. But then again, G-d puts us here, and give us free choice. So if we would have done something different, would the end result have been different? I don't know. I like to feel like I am in control of everything, and I plan what will happen. I know that ultimately G-d controls everything, and He makes all the plans. Nothing we plan will work out unless He wants it too. That is hard for me since I am such a control freak. This is one of the areas I have to work on.
When we got home, one of my neighbors told me that he was glad that we got home safely. It's funny, but I don't think so. If we had had an accident, it wouldn't have bothered me ... Michoel and I both welcome death. I know it's a horrible thing to say, but it's true. This is just how we feel. I know we have other kids. That is what is keeping us going right now. We both have no desire to "off" ourselves, as THAT would CERTAINLY make sure we don't see Yossi. We caught the tail end of a movie last night on the hotel TV. It was Deep Impact, where 2 giant meterorites are going to crash into Earth. Everyone is trying to run away and save themselves. Me and Michoel, we would have been running TO the impact. It's just how we feel. I guess we both feel the same way ... It would be nice for the whole world to blow up. End all of our problems in one shot!
This weekend Michoel and I are going to hit the road again. This Friday was supposed to be Yossi's big day. He was going to turn 13 on the Hebrew calander. I had made big plans that Thursday night we were going to have a big party for him. Friday night was going to be the family dinner. Shabbos morning he read his Torah portion and have a nice kiddush (luncheon) at shul (synagogoe). Then Saturday night he was going to have a pizza party with is friends. Now he gets Nothing! So, Michoel and I are basically running away. We decided to head down to North Carolina. We have never been there, so there will be no specific Yossi memories there. Also, Yossi's close friend Avrummie will have his bar mitzvah here on Sunday. Noa and I had talked and planned so that both boys would be able to have their celebrations. Noa and I had made the boys parties together for so many years. (When the boys were 4, Yossi was so into firemen. So Yossi and Avrummie had a fireman party. I made a fireman cake, and the local fire station sent over a truck. Another year the JCC had their carnival the same day as the kids birthday. So we had the party at the JCC and took the kids on the rides.) I am so gald that Noa will be able to proceed as planned.
One last note, and then I need to get some rest. I met a family whose husband is a director of a boy's choir. The wife, Lisa, offered that the boys could come down to Richmond, and perform in a benefit concert. I stupidly told her that it wasn't a good idea. The more I was thinking about it, I thought it's a great idea. Even if we only make a little money, it would be mostly profit. So I looked on the calendar, and the best day to do it would be on a special day for us. I thought that the day he was first diagnosed would be good, but Sruli's first hair cut will be then. So his day of relapse (Oct 4) is during Sukkos, which is a great time for performances. So that is where I will throw some of my energy when we get back from NC.
Hope all of you had an enjoyable holiday, whatever you celebrate! Since Yossi's birthday is on Friday, his tehillim will change to number 14. (The soul is timeless, so that is why we continue to add.) Also, it is an extra special day to give charity in his merit on this day. So please keep that in mind. I have no idea how much money has been raised since I last posted. As soon as I know, I will let you all know. Good night!

Apr. 18, 2001

There is some confusion about yesterdays posting. Both Michoel and I have no intention of hurting ourselves. Such a thing is an abomination to our faith and a disgrace to Yossi's memory. He loved life so much. What I was trying to say is that we have no fear of death. I used to say that if G-d forbid something happens to me, keep me hooked up to every machine, and don't turn anything off. Now I told Michoel is that if anything happens, just turn off the machine. I guess part of it is also seeing what Yossi went through, it's no way to "live". It's not a life. When I think back to everything that happened, it is like he was gone 4 weeks before he really did. I was hanging ont the hope. I know I have 4 other kids who need me. But unless you have been here, you have no idea how sad and painful it is. Some minutes or hours are better, but it is always there.
Yesterday we went to the bank to deposit some checks into a fund that was started for Yossi. I just gathered the money together, and when they totaled the deposit, it came to $414, Yossi's birthday! Is that freaky, or what? The account has been set up for Yossi's medical expenses, but thankfully they were all covered by our insurance. We plan to use all the money in the account for the boys' high school. Anyone can make a deposit directly into the account. It is at Bank of America, and the account number is 004121528412. The only thing I ask is that if you or someone you knows makes a deposit directly into the account, please email me so that I can keep a record of who donates. I am also working on possibly making a foundation, so that if we raise more than a half million dollars we start giving scholarships to the boys who come! Grand plans, huh?
Tonight the counselors from Chai Lifeline are having a shloshim for the YossMan. They will gather and finish the learning they have done for him, and speak about him as well. Through Divine Providence, one half to the video phone system was left behind. I am hoping that we will be able to hook up to this gathering, and be part of it. If that doesn't work, we are going to get a video copy of the gathering.
Please remember Yossi's Hebrew birthday is Friday. We change from tehillim number 13 to 14. Please also give some charity on this day in his memory.

Apr. 19, 2001

Hey YossMan! Tonight it's your birthday! You know the dress I got for your Bar Mitzvah is sitting in my closet at home untouched. Goldie brought her dress with her to Baltimore for Pesach, but didn't want to wear it. She feels that since she got it for your Bar Mitzvah, it's not right to wear it. So Chanie will get a hand-me-down that was never worn. It doesn't feel right not to be celebrating this milestone with you here. The cake I was going to make, the best one yet .... the people, the food, all the happiness. But how lucky YOU are to celebrate with HaShem.
Papa and I are in North Carolina. Last night I printed a ton of the emails from after you left. There are very beautiful and comforting to me. I also brought a lot of your pictures and school work. I especially love the little notes you wrote to me. Did you know I saved them? I am so glad I did.
I realized that I should have had spaghetti and meat sauce for dinner like you wanted tonight, but I couldn't get it. So, I am thinking of you, and missing you a lot. Avrummie is going to have his siyum on Sunday just like was planned. I brought his invitation with me to the cemetary this morning, and of course, I forgot to give it to you. (Par for the course, right?) I also made a donation to RTA for you, since you can't do it yourself.
I miss you so much sweetie. I know you are happy and healthy, not suffering at all. That is good. I am trying to be brave, but it is really hard. You were such a good boy. You always listened to me, and did what I told you. Remember how we cuddled that last Shabbos you were conscious? That was very special for me too. I want you to know how honored I am to have been your Mommy. You taught me so much about courage and strength. To me it seems like forever until we will see each other again, but I know for you it will be like a blink of an eye. I love you darling! Happy Birthday.

Apr. 24, 2001

Michoel and I went to North Carolina. It might seem weird for us to pick such an out of the way spot. We thought of going to Virginia Beach, or Baltimore (again), but we have memories of Yossi in so many different places. We really wanted to go somewhere new, where there were no bitter-sweet memories. We did manage to have a fairly nice time. This is the first time we got away since I was pregnant with Chanie over 6 years ago. We don't go away when the kids are nursing, and after Chanie was born, Yossi got sick, and then he got sick again, so we never managed to get away just the two of us. It's so wierd to do that. We are so used to the noise, diapers, food, shlepping, etc. When we wanted to go somewhere, we just left. No one to buckle in, put a jacket on (not that we wold have needed too, it was HOT the last few days!), etc. I guess I saw what our life would have been like sans kids, G-d Forbid. It's nice for a few days, but not forever. We did miss them a lot. But it was also important for us to connect again as a couple.
I have given a lot of thought as to what I want to do now. One thing I had thought (momentarily) was to stop writing updates. The story was about Yossi's struggle to survive, and now we are past that. Then I realized that I have something more to offer ... how to survive the unsurvivable. I used to ask my cyber-friends who had lost kids, "How do you get up in the morning? How do you face each day?" Now I know. You just do it. Even in NC, where we had no obligations, you still do it. There is a hole there. It's something we carry around with us everywhere we go. We were wawlking in a mall, and I wanted some sign to light up above me with the words "Careful! Mourning Mom!", or something. I just want people to know. I don't want his short time here to be in vain. I guess that is why I want the high school so much. I want his name to live on forever and ever.
It was wierd to say his new tehillim now. I am so used to his old one. A funny thing happened Friday night. I pulled out my Omer chart. (This is going to get to hard to explain. My cyber-friend Susie is going to send me a link to a site that will explain the Jewish words better!) As I am looking up what day to say, Michoel comments, yesterday was 12, today is 13. I looked at him very surprised, and said, "Now you can't count the Omer!" Well, he wasn't referring to the days of the Omer, he was referring to Yossi's age!!!
Yossi loved everyone, and always had good things to say about everyone he knew. Maybe that is why so many people loved him. He always had a lot of friends, and not just friends, good close friends. When the Klestzicks first moved to Richmond, we found out that Yossi and Avrummie were only a day apart. Later it turned out that they were really hours apart. For many years, Yossi and Avrummie shared birthday parties together. It was great for Noa and I to do this. While this weekend was supposed to be Yossi's Bar Mitzvah, it was Avrummie's too. Noa and I had talked about how to work it out so that both boys would have a celebration they both wanted. It was great that it was going to work out perfectly. Then when we went to MN, Noa and I again talked about how we would work things out so Avrummie could be there in MN and make it back in time for his. There is a yiddish saying, a mentch tracht un Gut lacht, a man plans and G-d laughs. Meaning I guess not to try and plan everything out cuz ultimately, He has control. As we know, Avrummie was left "alone" to celebrate. I heard from my mom that Avrummie dedicated his bar mitzvah to Yossi! How beautiful and loving a tribute. I also got an email from a close friend who nows lives in Florida I would like to share.

"Leah and Michoel,
Several months ago, Chana and I told two of the chabad rabbis here (they happen to be brothers) about Yossi and asked them to say mishaberachs for him. This past Shabbos, which I know would have been Yossi's bar mitzvah, was also the bar mitzvah of Shloime Denburg, son of Yossi Denburg of Coral Springs, where we are moving in June. I had forgotten to tell them what happened to Yossi and all of a sudden I heard Yosef Chaim ben Breindel Leah called out for a mishaberach. I went up to the rabbis and informed them about the circumstances and that it would have been his bar mitzvah. When it was time for the bar mitzvah maamer, Shloime prefaced it by saying that he had gotten an e-mail some time ago about Yossi and he and his classmates had been saying Tehillim ever since. Since he had just found out what happened, he decided to dedicate his maamer to Yossi. Chana and I sat there and cried. We thought you would like to know."
So in essence, Yossi celebrated his Bar Mitzvah up in Heaven with Hashem Himself, as well as in various places down here. One final note that this letter illustrates is the need to let people know of his passing. If you were kind enough to send emails asking for prayers, please direct people to our site so they can know he is no longer here with us in person. Also, it might help my cause for raising funds for the high school.
Lastly, a friend of mine from Minnesota came here. Lisa is one of the many women who went out of their way to help us. She used to drive our kids home from school everyday, even though it was at least 30 minutes out of her way. She always did it with a smile on her face. She would bring the kids treats, and generally was truly a friend. It's been great to have her here, and to try and show her the Yossi we knew and loved. Please don't forget Yossi Chaim A"H, and continue to say his new tehillim, #14, as well as continue to give charity in his memory. I hope that we will all merit to see Moshiach speedily!

Apr. 29, 2001

One of the things that I find helpful for me about maintaining Yossi's (A"H) page is that it helps me to express myself. But lately, I find that I have to sensor what I say, or people get scared. So with that preface, I am just going to lay it all on the line. This is very raw emotion that I have been feeling, and there is no way to tap-dance around it. (The other problem with writing vs. speaking is that you don't hear where my accents are, and where my emphasis is, so just try to bear with me.)
The days and nights are getting harder for me. I try so hard to understand what has happened, but it's mindboggling. I KNOW I have to wait until I stand before HaShem for the reason, but it doesn't stop me from asking, "Why me? Why our family? Why Yossi?" I see other children in our neighborhood, and I don't wish them bad, but I wonder, why are they all fine, and our lives are turned upside down? I see an article in a magazine, and one little line jumps out at me, "Our prayers were answered." I can't imagine what our family did do terrible to deserve this. I know there are reasons for all this. I was even thinking that Yossi is looking at me in all this pain, and he understands completely. And when I stand before HaShem, and He explains it, it is all going to make perfect sense. Right now, the pain of longing is so strong. It consumes me. I get no joy out of life. I hate my life, and I have never felt this way before, and I don't like it. I think about ending it all, to rid myself of this horrible pain, but I know I can't do it. That only adds to my frestration. (If I did do something like that, I would never see Yossi again.) So I'm stuck in this horrible life that isn't going to get any better. The pain will lessen, but it will always be there. I know from other people I spoke with. It never goes away. I don't want to go through my life like this. Whoever said that G-d only gives you what you can handle was wrong, cuz I am failing miserably. I miss him, and that is all there is too it. I think of him all day, and when I wake up a dozen times in the night, I think of him too. I don't dream of him, and that is also making me crazy. I feel terrible for my kids, and for Michoel. I am making everyone miserable. I CAN'T TAKE IT! IT'S NOT FAIR! I WANT YOSSI BACK!
I am also terribly overwhelmed with raising half million dollars for the high school. I thought that I would be able to do it one two three, but every idea I have falls through. The concert idea isn't going to raise nearly enough money for the work involved, and I don't want to end up losing money. I am meeting with a friend tomorrow to work on the idea of a dinner to raise big money, but then I am out of ideas. I finally thought, I am just going to send out letters and ask people to donate.
The one thing that has brought me some joy is watching old videos of Yossi. Today I put the last tape in. (This is one from '91.) Well, it played for 2 seconds, and then stopped. The camcorder made some beeping noises, and that's that. The camcorder is broken. Hello up there! I am not coping now, and You are adding more tzoris (problems) to my life? Yeah, it's a little thing. But one of Chanie's fish sponges when down the tub's drain, and Michoel's car is leaking gasoline in the fuel injectors, or something like that. I don't know. It's too much.
One more piece of really "happy" news ... I found a web site that has a lot of cancer facts. Did you know that American Cancer Society gives LESS than 2% of it's money to childhood cancer research? And did you know that approximately 100 kids die from AIDs each YEAR, and yet they get a lot more funding for research compared to 250 kids who die each MONTH of cancer? Doesn't seem fair. There are so many things in life I need to fix, but I just don't have the energy to do it. First comes me, my family, and getting my life back in order. Next, or while I am doing that, comes the boys high school. Finally, I need to try and get more money for research. No family should have to go through what we are going through.
Sorry this one is such a downer, but it's how I feel. (At least I feel normal. I just read an email on the support group I am on. Another woman feels exactly as I do, in so many respects!)

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