Time: December 30 2008 10:26 PM
It always annoyed me and my conscience that I could never figure out what I could say about it. Literary skills aren't nearly good enough to express exactly how I feel, I'll do my best.
After I heard the news of Shoshana's death, I went to the bathroom and just cried for an hour, not really sure what to make of it.
I never got to know her as well as I should have, but now I cry whenever I heard Oseh Shalom.
I love you, Shoshana.
Visitor: Chuck Thomas
Time: January 9, 2009 3:18 PM
Natasha and I went by Shoshana's grave the other day. It's a oasis of stillness and peace in a sea of motion. We still miss Shoshi. It doesn't seem right that she left so soon, maybe it never will.
Visitor: Dominic Wood
Time: February 11, 2009 7:49 PM
I don't have much to say other than I miss Shoshana almost every day. I don't think I deserve to grieve as much as others since I only knew her for a short time, but I still wish that she were here along with all those who loved her. I don't cry much, but when I think of Shoshana, I nearly fall apart. It's moments like these that make me question the existence of God and why he would take away someone so precious to so many. I don't know how anyone else deals with the pain, but I think Shoshana would not want us to despair or suffer, and that little thought has been my motivation for the past 2 1/2 years. R.I.P Shoshana, I'll always remember and love you.
Visitor: Tina Huckabee
Time: April 19, 2009 2:20 PM
Passover ended Thursday night at sundown. One week from the end of Passover we'll light a yartzeit candle to mark the third anniversary of Shoshana's death. Three years, it's hard to comprehend. I was visiting with a neighbor yesterday and she could hardly believe that it had been that long. So long and not long at all-still, so much time ahead to grieve. I'm steeling myself for the next seven to eleven days. Lucky us-we get to mark Shoshana's death on the Jewish calendar (30 of Nisan) which is Friday April 24 and also on the secular date, which is Tuesday, April 28. To prepare, I'm planting my feet firmly on the ground: stiffening my jaw, neck, shoulders, heart, and mind.
On the Jewish calendar, this year is the same as the year Shoshana died. The day after Passover ended, Shoshana took a school field trip to Houston to visit some museums. Exactly one week later, she died. I've always wondered if it was on that trip that she picked up the (normally) mild virus that entered her heart and killed her.
This coming week or so, I'll remember vignettes of her last week. How, on that last Monday after she came home from school, she hugged me in the hallway just outside of our home office, and asked me if she could "go around the block for a ride." (Meaning-on her bicycle.) She said that I "was the best mommy ever!" when I said, "sure-don't take too long, you have homework." She would use that "best mommy ever" or with Steven, "bestest daddy ever" when she wanted to do something. (It was more of a joke than anything, pretending to manipulate when there was nothing to manipulate.) Then, five days later, as Steven and I were rushing to get to the airport to fly to Chicago and I knew she wasn't breathing and that her heart had stopped, we stood in the exact spot and I asked him, "What if she dies???? What will we do?" He said, "we'll deal with it if it happens."
And so we have.
She had a headache the next morning and took an Ibruprophin-I still have the bottle. When she came home late that afternoon, she didn't feel particularly well, but wasn't really sick. She was chatty and ate well that night, but commented about how tired she was. She went to bed early and Steven didn't get home until late that night and saw her only after she was asleep. I was sure that I would be getting up with her during the night, but the next morning she seemed fine, if a little pale. She was chipper and excited about the Chicago band trip. Funnily enough, she forgot her lunch that day-I think it was the only time she ever forgot to take something to Kealing. Normally, I wouldn't have taken it over there (since it's across town), but that day, I did. I'm not sure why. I think I just wanted to make sure she didn't eat junk for lunch. She came home that afternoon, showered, ate a quick dinner, packed, and we were back to Kealing to drop her off for the trip.
Steven and I escorted her to the band hall to say goodbye. We weren't late, but there were lots of people already there: kids and parents and luggage and instruments. She stood with the two girls that she would stay with in the hotel and we chatted for a few minutes. I hugged Shoshana and she kissed my left cheek. Then her dad kissed her on her forehead and she rolled her eyes, but hugged him back. I told her to take care of herself-I was still a little concerned that she might come down with "something." I knew that she would sleep a great deal on the bus, so I figured that would help. As we left the band hall, I turned around to look at her. She was grinning as she stood there with her two friends. That was the last time I saw Shoshana.
I'm glad I have that last look at Shoshana to remember. It would be easy to focus my memories on sitting beside her casket and talking to her just before her funeral, watching her casket disappear into the ground, or remembering the sound of the soil as it hit her casket as we buried her. We have enough bad memories. Steven is haunted by how she looked at the Chicago Medical Examiner's office, with the tracheotomy tube still in her throat, her sweet face spattered by her blood because the ER doctors had to open her chest as they desperately tried to revive her. I can still see the blood stained toe tag and the "transportation of body" receipt that were returned to us. I am haunted by the cold descriptions in her autopsy report; the last line being: "This thirteen year-old child died of myocarditis." I remember our fearful drive to the airport. Steven was on the phone with the ER doctor in charge; I was driving. I knew, before he did, that she had died. The doctor was asking whether we were parked yet and he kept saying, "no, but we're almost there. Tell the chaperones anything you need to." But of course, the doctor couldn't tell chaperones that our child had died before she informed us. I remember the hollowness of Steven's voice when he repeated the words, "She died?"
We've survived. I'm not always sure how, or why, or that I want the time without her.
It struck me forcibly recently, that Aaron has matured over and beyond Shoshana. He was always the little boy/brother-always less mature, noisier, goofier. I look at him now, taller than I am with a little bit of facial hair. Not only has he surpassed her chronologically, but intellectually as well. We speak about things that I never spoke about with her; I allow him things that I never allowed with her. He is entering high school soon and she wasn't thinking much about high school when she was in seventh grade. Shoshana is now the little girl. She'll never be more than thirteen. She'll always be a child, just beginning her teenage years, just stepping onto the path to young adulthood.
For the first full year without her, I relived each day of her last week-I recalled conversations, irritations, and everything I could remember about that awful Friday. In time though, it became unnecessary to relive her last week. I had to move forward in other ways with her. I still wear her gold hoop earrings everyday, but I can't bear to do anything in or to her room. We laugh about her antics, but I marvel at and am secretly thrilled when Aaron grins a certain way, scratches his head when he's concentrating, just like she did, or when I really look at his hair, which is so much like hers.
The end of the third year, the beginning of the fourth. There are so many things that are different now, so many changes that time brings. Shoshana doesn't know our cat, Nuri, or that our older dog, Kilian, died. (Or maybe she does?) She doesn't know that Aaron is really interested in film and has become a good writer (NOT a good editor...) and that he'll be going to LASA (the AISD Liberal Arts and Science Academy) next year. She doesn't know (or maybe she does...) that we finally built our lovely pond and that the rocks we used to line it and build the waterfall come from the cemetery where she is forever at rest. We brought a little of where she is to where we are. I visited her a great deal during the time that I was gathering the rocks for the pond-I tended the little garden that I planted over her and told her about our activities, Obama's election, what I knew of the people who had been important in her life. I told her how much I love her and miss her-always that.
In the next year, the fourth without her, I'll take care of and be with the people I love. I'll remember the joy and fulfillment she gave me and I will continue to search for meaning in my life without her. That's all I can do.
But for the coming week or so, I'll wallow in my tremendous pain and loss. I'll light the yartzeit candle, say Kaddish, and mark three years of mourning. I'll ache and cry and be angry and shake my fist at the Universe and ask, "Why her?? Why her when she had so much to do, to give?? What were You thinking??"
And then, I'll start another year.
Visitor: Ariel R Godwin
Time: April 19, 2009 2:20 PM
(-- So who is this Shoshana person, anyway?
-- A girl I used to know.)
It's a hobby of mine to write or draw pictures on windows that have become misted with condensation. Rain, steam, or fog, I'll trace patterns in the water with my index finger, and then forget about them until the next time they appear. When moisture condenses on the surface of that glass, the images I drew show up like photograph negatives in sharp relief, startling me into remembrance.
After taking a particularly long time in the shower one day, I looked at my bathroom mirror in surprise to find that it was steamed up to the top, and had been traced upon by something remarkably resembling an index finger. The writing was tall and clear: SHOSHANA, eight letters and the shape of a heart at one end. My writing. Suddenly, I remembered.
I had written those letters myself three years ago, in the steam from a hot shower. SHOSHANA. Each time the steam revealed the letters again, I traced over them once more, finger going through familiar motions over and over. Remembering feelings of grief, pain, the anguish of losing her. SHOSHANA. How many times I have traced that name, I do not know. But no matter how long it's been since the last time I looked into the mirror and saw her there, I am always a little surprised to find how much and how little I remember.
(-- Used to?
-- Yes. She died.)
It still surprises me to say those words: "she died," like I can't really believe it myself. It was so unbelievable at the time. Reluctant as I was to accept it, I figured the email that notified myself and others of Shoshana's passing had to be a joke. Something sick and lacking in taste, of course, but a joke all the same. But incredulous as I was, I know it must have been nothing compared to the shock of her fellow bandmates, her parents, her brother, to hear the news. Shoshana, this bright flame of life, gone? Impossible. She cannot just have slipped past us into death; the very idea is absurd.
Of course, death is always closer to us than we think. April 28th proved that to me three years ago.
(-- I'm so sorry.
-- So am I.)
I can admit now that I regret not getting to know her better. Shoshana was definitely fun to be around, and a friend of mine in P.E. and at lunch. I wasn't the closest to her, but I remember having a good many spirited conversations filled with inside jokes and geeky references. She was a great conversationalist. I wish I could still ask her for advice, as she gave it freely, and follow her lead in being a good friend.
It's taken me awhile to realize this, but events like Shoshana's passing can affect us in good ways or bad. Obviously, we all miss her deeply. Life may never be the same for her close friends or family. But death can also inspire us to make life worth living in other ways. It is not Shoshana's death that has inspired me most, but her life, which was so full of radiance that it moves us even now.
I think of Shoshana when I lend an ear to a friend who comes to me for help. I think of her when I make the first move to apologize in an argument. I think of her when I defend my opinion, and when I admit defeat with grace. Shoshana's encouraged me to better myself while I still can, because after all, life is short. That is what I've learned from three years of grief and regret: sadness can only take us so far. We have to grow the rest of the way ourselves.
(-- I wish I had known...
-- You would have liked her.)
It doesn't really bother me to talk about Shoshana anymore. At first it was painful to even bring her up -- when introducing her to someone who didn't know her, there's always that pause before I bring it up, like I deserve to keep her to myself. But soon enough, I realized how selfish that was. As the comments on this memorial can attest, Shoshana didn't belong to just one person. She was everyone's -- confidant, rival, student, sister, friend, and so much more than that. Reading others' memories of her illustrates that more clearly than anything I can say.
"You would have liked her," I say. How could you not? Shoshana was funny and smart, mature yet so silly at times. I wish that everyone had had the chance to know her, at least for a little while. That I could talk about her in the present tense and invite her to my birthday parties. (She only ever went to one of mine -- my thirteenth. I still have her invitation stuck to the side of our fridge.) But I know those things can never happen now. You have to make up for it in other ways, filling the void Shoshana left with thoughts and memories of her.
So when people ask me today why I wear simple black, I'll tell them. When they ask "Who's Shoshana?" I'll say "A girl I used to know." And I'll tell them about the girl who managed to touch so many in such a short time, and the reason I remember her today.
I don't want to keep Shoshana to myself, cringing at the thought of speaking about her. I don't want to bury that scarred wound in a chest deep underground. I don't want to hide her away, like her memory is something shameful to be kept from others, or conceal her until by some chance she reappears like mist on a mirror. Far from it. I want to share her with everyone.
Visitor: Tina Huckabee
Time: July 27, 2009 11:02 PM
Tina Huckabee's reminisces of July 2 (posted July 27,2009)
July 2, 2009
We returned recently from a short trip to Santa Fe. I've always wanted to go there. I love West Texas: the big, beautiful sky with its incredible sunsets and the cool, dry wind. New Mexico borrowed those attributes from West Texas and I wanted to see how those things translated. :-) So we visited Santa Fe-just Steven and me, since Aaron was at Camp Young Judaea, experiencing his own adventure.
Santa Fe is an artsy town. One cannot spit with out hitting an art gallery. Some galleries I liked, some I didn't. My two favorites were local cooperative art galleries, with real-live actual artists manning the desk and answering questions. My favorite museum exhibition was in the New Mexico Museum of Art. It was an exhibition called "Intertwined" and featured all sorts of fascinating woven sculptures. We also visited the Georgia O'Keefe Museum-of course. I've always loved her flowers, but I didn't realize what a prolific and groundbreaking artist she was and didn't realize the breadth of her work. The O'Keefe museum was probably my favorite museum overall.
When Shoshana was in second or third grade, her art class studied O'Keefe-specifically the flowers.. The kids then drew their own O'Keefe flower in pastel/coloring pencils. Shoshana's flower is on a black background. She colored the petals in shades of vibrant blue. The pistils and stamens are green, lavender, and soft yellow. I never had this particular piece of Shoshana art framed and it hangs in her room still. Having now seen the real O'Keefe flowers, I certainly see the difference. But my Little O'Keefe artist did do a beautiful job in her own rendering. I remember how proud she was of that drawing and how much we gushed over her accomplishment.
Since Shoshi's death, whenever we leave town, I always visit her grave beforehand and ask her to come with us. As I was on the plane to Santa Fe, I realized that I hadn't visited her grave in a while and that I didn't visit prior to the trip. In some ways, I was appalled: how could I just forget? How could I not tell her that I was going to be gone, that she should come with us? I know that some would say, "It's progress that you where so busy that you didn't complete this ritual." And maybe there is some merit to that statement. I am busy. Sometimes I go long periods without visiting her grave-I have things to do, places to go, people to see, things to accomplish. That's what life is about, isn't it. Doing stuff??? Hanging with folks you care about??? But it niggles at me nonetheless, this blithe, cavalier forgetfulness where it concerns my "moving forward" with life, without her.
I did bring back rocks from my trip though. From Santa Fe proper: from outside the museums, from gardens we visited, and from the mountains of the surrounding area. I have visited her since my return and told her about our trip. I regularly water the little garden planted above her and I listen to the birds in the trees around her. I sit, usually in the early morning, appreciating the shade of the oak tree over her grave. I read the words we had inscribed on her gravestone and remember the vibrant, joyful girl: of blessed memory. I tell her of our doings-our adventures and events.
And I hope she knows that I always invite her to be with me.
Time: October 25, 2009 9:34 PM
I never knew Shoshana all that well. We had some classes together at Kealing and had a lot of mutual friends so we went to the same birthday parties, etc. That's not much, but when you're eleven, twelve, and thirteen you're not worried about having to get to know someone because maybe they won't be there the next day.
I don't really know what to write or even why I'm writing. I guess just to say that I will never, ever forget Shoshana as long as I live. Or maybe I will? It's a scary thought. I used to be so afraid that I would lose the pieces of memories that I have of her, like messing around together in English (especially when we performed "The Tempest"- no one ever checked if we were actually working in the hallway), joking during gym (she was much better than me), but mainly just her smile, her eyes, and that distinctive laugh. Timeless. At the same time, I did want to forget, because I cried myself to sleep at night for almost a year, but how could I possibly explain that to anyone? I hardly knew her. My grieving was so selfish.
I'm not really afraid of forgetting anymore, nor do I want to. The fact that I've thought of her every single day for the last three and a half years makes me fairly confident that Shoshana will never be completely gone. She's in my dreams about half the time even still. I certainly don't ask for her to show up in my dreams, but if she wants to come talk to me, entertain me, then I welcome her vivacious spirit. Thinking of her makes me smile now. It's comforting.
I've been so embarrassed about writing. It's taken me three and a half years to post something just because I felt so guilty about not knowing her better but missing her so much anyway, and obviously my grief is nothing compared with those who were closer to her. But what a wonderful person Shoshana was. Is. I want her to have all the posts she can in her guestbook. I come here almost every day even though the posts get fewer and fewer, mainly just falling around the more significant dates. Is this weird? Probably, but I imagine a lot of people still do this.
Shoshana, you are not just a name to be remembered a few times a year. You are with us every single day in our thoughts, and in our words and actions even when we don't realize it. You have impacted more people that you ever could have known you would in your short lifetime. May your beautiful soul rest in peace.
Visitor: Debra Haas
Time: December 30, 2009 11:20 AM
Hi Shoshana -
I just sent a message to your mom - your whole family, really - because I know that today, perhaps more than any other day (except your yartzeit in April)they miss you.
Miriam and I were talking about you this morning - in part because it's your birthday, and because we were talking about Aaron. She's still at Kealing - and she misses seeing Aaron in the halls. When she was a pixie, he made a point of always talking to her, and making sure she knew his friends.
Now, she's an 8-ball, and working on her LASA application over the winter break. She'll probably be seeing Aaron in the halls again in a few months.
Miriam always admired you - you were older, and like Aaron, you were always so nice to her, and never treated her like a "little kid". She's like you in a lot of ways, she loves Kealing, she did a beautiful job at her bat mitzvah, she has braces, and she makes her parents proud. She misses you too. It's hard for me to believe that she's now a year older than you were when you left us.
I haven't written on your page very often, although I read the updates pretty regularly. Although you are not celebrating a birthday today - there are many, many people who continue to love you and celebrate your short but wonderful life.
Visitor: Ariel R Godwin
Time: January 19, 2010 6:01 AM
An update to the message I left on April 19th, 2009:
My mom cleaned my bathroom mirror yesterday. She said it was so dusty you could hardly see your own reflection. I thought about telling her she'd erased years of Shoshana's name, written in mirror-mist to dry and remain there. I had promised myself not to forget her, nor to remember her only when steam made her name appear: fleetingly, like condensation or a single tear. I told myself I had to remember Shoshana more than that, not just as a name. But I never wiped off my mirror. And I didn't tell my mom exactly what she'd erased.
Sometimes it's too easy not to let people know what Shoshana mean to us. Sometimes it's hard to remember her, because sometimes remembering all we've lost is almost too hard to bear.
Time: January 31, 2010 5:51 PM
Thinking of you.
Miss Lakshmanan's tears.
Looking at album art at Laura's house.
Drawings of horses.
Visitor: Carolyn Freimark
Time: February 22, 2010
The day I found out that my best friend, Shoshana died I was in shock. I couldn't believe that she died. I still remember all the good times we had together. At her funeral I wanted to cry but I wanted to be strong and proud to say I was her friend. Even though I made new friends I will always remember her and all the good times. I still miss her. The year of her death had been a horrible year for me because my grandpa had died two days after my birthday and my cat, Tiger, was put down. I hated that year and will all ways hate it. Every time I remember Shoshana I wanted to cry, every time, but I stayed strong.