Visitor: Eleanor Cowan
Time: December 31, 2007 11:09 AM
To the loved ones of Shoshana,
Thank you for sharing your hearltfelt story of Shoshana in the Statesman. I still have tears in my eyes when I think of you. I'm 69 years old and have often feared the loss of one of our sons. My husband lost both his parents in an auto accident when our sons were in grade school. That was bad enough.
I know it will take time for the pain to ease. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you heal. What a gift it was to have her for 13 years.
Visitor: Autumn Kervella
Time: December 31, 2007 12:07 PM
Thank you Tina for your article in the Austin American Statesman, it was wonderful and brought back many memories of Shoshana. I miss her so much and was thinking of her periodically through the day yesterday. Hope all is well with Aaron and the family, it was so nice seeing you at the crane celebration a few weeks ago.
Hang in there,as always,
*We miss you Shoshi, happy belated birthday!*
Visitor: Annie Huckabee
Time: December 31, 2007 4:23 PM
Thank you for sharing Shoshana's great love for all that is Austin. Knowing such a beautiful individual remains a cherished privilege.
Visitor: Tina Huckabee
Time: January 1, 2007 10:47 AM
On Shoshi's birth day, the Austin American Stateman printed a story written by Tina as part of their 'Tales of the City" Series, to read the article click here . The original version (not edited for length) follows in the next entry.
Visitor: Tina Huckabee
Time: January 1, 2007 10:47 AM
Shoshana was the daughter of two long time Austinites. She came into our lives on December 30, 1992 and left suddenly on April 28,2006. She lived her Austin life with joy, passion and energy. Shoshana's arrival came on the heel of two miscarriages and we were so excited to have a healthy, beautiful baby. She was always a happy child. She certainly experienced her share of grumpiness once she hit adolescence, but even then, she was a great kid. She was mostly (though certainly not always) a good sister to her brother, Aaron. They were the best of friends in their preschool years and throughout elementary school. They drifted apart a bit as she entered middle school, but she could be wonderful with him while doing homework and if there were none of her friends around to show off for.
She was an Austin girl. When the kids were little, we walked the trails of Zilker Botanical Gardens and the Austin Nature Center more times than I can remember. We loved the flowers and the gardens. We looked every time for the snake that lived in the Japanese garden pond, but we never saw it. We would visit the animals and birds that live at the Nature Center. It was a little disappointing when we visited during the hot summer mornings and the animals were asleep; in cooler times of the year we could watch the bobcat, coyote, and coati move around. We tried to find all of the sleeping owls in the their enclosures and we often walked the trails behind the Nature Center. One afternoon, we crossed paths with two foxes. We heard their barks and Shoshana later told me that as she hiked ahead of me, one of the foxes passed directly in front of her. They stared at each other for a few seconds before the fox skittered off.
We took many trips to the Austin Zoo. We were there when they first had Omar, a Bengal tiger cub. One of the handlers fed the cub with a bottle and was playing with him in a fenced area. The fence was probably two feet high and there was a group of people watching this beautiful animal. The cub made eye contact with Shoshana and the two of them watched each other for a minute or two (enough to make me uncomfortable..) In later years we always visited the enclosure where the Bengal tigers live and marveled at how big Omar was; I was grateful that Omar grew without having ingested my daughter!
Shoshana loved all animals and her experiences with pets, animals she came across in the wild, and at zoos, fueled a great interest in studying vetinernary medicine. She volunteered at Town Lake Animal Center from fourth grade until her death. She regularly searched the "Austin American Statesman" homes section for parcels of land near Austin that were for sale and where she could keep horses. Never mind that her dad and I had no plans to move OR get horses.
We spent time at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, especially in spring, but also in summer. Shoshana and Aaron loved to climb the tower to look out at the landscape and to watch birds soar in the open skies. As the kids matured, we took the longer trail walks and I pointed out the various plants that I knew about (which they had little interest in) and we almost always found insects to observe. I remember the three of us watching a gorgeous tarantula slowly meander up the side of the building one of the last times that we were there together.
She enjoyed being outdoors. The hot Austin summers never bothered her. She always wanted to swim at Northwest pool when it opened in spring; sometimes we went to Ramsey Park pool and sometimes to Reed pool. Northwest Park and pool were closest and was where she and her brother were most likely to see friends from school. We visited other parks as well. Mayfield Park was a place to picnic and walk the trails; when the peacocks and peahens were around they were so much fun to listen to and watch. We hiked in Wild Basin when the weather cooled and the leaves on the trees turned color. We rode the Zilker Zephyr many times and the kids loved the Zilker play scape. Afterwards, we swam in Barton Springs pool; Shoshana liked the cold, clear water.
Even around our home Shoshana enjoyed being outdoors. We watched bats when they began to fly at sundown in late spring. When she was in Kindergarten, there was one, which hovered over our backyard every evening for most of May. She loved to watch the activity of the various hawks we observed during fall, winter and spring. We listened to owls at night and she cackled as she watched blue jays bathe in our birdbaths. She often took a book or sketchpad to spend time reading or drawing in our backyard.
As she grew older, she loved to ride her bicycle. We rode together as a family, but mostly she rode alone around the neighborhood, daringly so, with her hands off the handlebars. Sometimes, Shoshana and her dad would ride down to the Capitol or to the UT Tower and sometimes she rode with me a few miles down Shoal Creek Boulevard and home again.
Beautiful life. That's the title of the scrapbook the soccer girls gave to us after Shoshana died. They put the scrapbook together during the week after Shoshana's sudden death. The photo of her on the cover is of a rosy cheeked, lovely girl, on the brink of adulthood, but with the flush and vibrancy of youth. Shoshana was thirteen. She died while on a school field trip of myocarditis, which is an infection of the heart muscle. From the time I received the first phone call that she wasn't feeling well to the time that the ER doctor told my husband that Shoshana had died was about two hours. I remember those two hours vividly. Sometimes I can't remember them at all.
Shoshana died in Chicago, not Austin. She was excited to travel with people (the Kealing Band) whom she cared about. The communities she loved and grew up with rallied and supported us during those dark weeks and months following her death.
The communities that Shoshana participated in have honored her and she lives throughout Austin. At Gullet Elementary, there is a brick on the 50^th anniversary walk with her name on it. At Kealing Middle School, 4866 cranes (one for every day of her life) hang in the new library; last year Kealing kids made a film about her. At Lucy Read soccer field, the trees and the benches are there in her memory. The city of Austin will choose a youth volunteer each year to receive the "Shoshana Weintraub Memorial Youth Volunteer Award" remembering her work with adoptable dogs at Town Lake Animal Center. There are other honors in her name as well.
As we continue our lives without her, we constantly pass where she rests at Austin Memorial Park. I blow a kiss to her when I'm driving on MoPac; I carry a rock so that if I visit her spontaneously I can mark that I've been to her grave. Shoshana is still with as we live in Austin.
Visitor: Georjean Hubner
Time: January 2, 2008 6:01 PM
Tina - I was very moved by your story about your life with Shoshana. Your experiences and memories very much mirrored my own with my daughter Maya who passed away in June of 2006. We actually met once for lunch and I have thought of you often. It is so true what you said - "writing and talking about them is easy. It's living without them that is so hard." We have also done many things to keep our daughter's memory alive. I would love to get together again and we can share more about our daughters. I still remember all the beautiful pictures you showed me of her and still have her card. Several places around town are selling Maya's cards along with "curesearch".If you have more artwork of Shoshana's I would love to see it. Feel free to call or e-mail me if you would like to get together.
Sincerely, Georjean Hubner
Visitor: Annabella Cavello
Time: February 22, 2007 10:58 PM
It's terribly selfish for me to think this, I suppose, but I was reminded of our grief and loss, having arrived at rowing two days ago, to meet friends in tears. I do not attend Austin High, nor do I know the names of nearly half of the girls on my rowing team, but I couldn't help but be reminded. I feel like we can relate. I don't know if I'll ever have the courage to tell them that I know their pain, but there's something very human in those tears.
I'm reminded, constantly, of our dear friend. I will always love her, entirely. A beautiful smile, inquisitive nature, boundless energy, and extraordinary mind, Shoshana is always with us. In memory, in spirit.
I'll always remember those lovely things:
Sitting next to Alec in Miss Lakshmanan's class, just to bother him,
The sock hung dangerously close over people's faces, at Pelly's birthday.
So many smiles, giggle-fits, and hugs.
I hope that I can be half the person that she was, even though I may have more than twice her time.
Sleep softly, Shoshana.
Visitor: Annabella Cavello
Time: February 22, 2007 11:11 PM
I remember how upset I got also. At everything. At the doctors, at the band, at the world. I was upset with the school; angry at anyone who wasn't at the funeral.
It's frightening how angry I got at people and things.
Soon I realized, though, that it wasn't something to be mad about.
This, as awful as it is, was also a lesson in appreciation of life, of love, of time.
One thing that I've realized, in particular, i of how cold statistics are. One girl. Thirty-even bomb-blast victims. Three hundred starved refugees. Everything sounds objective, but it isn't.
The truth is that, with each life lived and lost, there are people who will remember it.
We'll always remember Shoshana.
She was so much more than one girl.
She is an angel.