September 24, 2009


Traveling is usually exciting and with the intent of vacationing. Whether it is to relax, to sightsee or to spend time with family/friends, it is usually a pleasant experience. Yes, the process of getting to your destination of choice is usually annoying and cumbersome, but the stay itself makes it all worthwhile. I've gotten on a plane many times to travel all over the place. There were bumpy rides and easy fligths. There were those with baggage and those with just carry-on. I came to America on a plane. (Duh!) It was exciting and scary at the same time. America was my new home and in my over-analytical 9 year old brain it meant a lot of change and change came. We adjusted. America is home. I've gotten on a plane twice to come to a funeral. Today I'm getting on a plane and nothing is the same. I'm not going to a funeral, but I'm in mourning. I will attend a Yom Kippur fast and a Bar Mitzvah. I will see my family and family friends and yet I feel so uneasy, so restless. I don't know what this trip should bring. I don't know whose moral support I'm going for, mine or someone else's.

September 22, 2009

first birthday

No, it's not my first birthday, but it's my first birthday without mom, the person that gave me life and so many of its lessons. Many moms do many things for their children. I don't think there are too many that write their child a letter on the day they are born. I wish that I could explain the emptyness or the pain to someone, to anyone. I wish someone would understand. I wish someone would let me talk about it, without making me feel guilty for putting a damper on their mood. I know they always say "be careful what you wish for," but this birthday I have only one wish which will never come true.
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September 19, 2009

My mother is a poem
I'll never be able to write,
though everything I write
is a poem to my mother.
-Sharon Doubiago

September 18, 2009

Shana Tova

I'm a big fan of Dry Bones. Happy New Year. May the year ahead be full of gain and not loss. May everyone remain healthy and in good spirits. All else we can buy.

September 17, 2009

1 Month of Emptyness

By the time I wake up tomorrow, it'll be one full month. Where did the time go? Tomorrow is Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of a new (Jewish) year. It's a holiday of sweetness and abundance (both of which are missing in my life this year). This Rosh Hashanah was supposed to be spent with family, to get on a plane Sunday/Monday for Paris. We were gonna spend my birthday and a few more days in Paris and then head to Israel for Yom Kippur and my cousin's Bar Mitzvah. As I've learned over and over, nothing (in my life, at least) ever goes according to plan. We are having dinner tomorrow with my dad and sister and Saturday with the in-laws. My birthday is still on Tuesday. We are getting on a plane next Thursday heading for Israel. But NOTHING is the same. The biggest part of my life is missing. Family dinner will be missing the main ingredient. The person that gave me life won't be here to wish me a happy birthday, so what can there be to celebrate? Paris just doesn't seem to be in the cards. I'm going to Israel to see mama's family, my family; to spend time with her friends; to be there on Yom Kippur (and not the Brighton fashion show); to be there (as promised) at my cousin's Bar Mitzvah, to light the candle, to say a prayer and not to dance.

L'Shana Tova U'Metukah and please whoever you are and wherever you are(I realize you may not be reading this, but you know this is in my heart), let this year (5770/2010 whatever calendar you use) be a year of gain and not loss. I can't get any stronger and even if I can, I
really don't want to. I pray only for health of everyone that I love. (A not so) Happy New Year!

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September 16, 2009

My dreams are getting weirder...

To dream that you are at somebody else's funeral, signifies that you are burying an old relationship and closing the lid on the past. You may be letting go some of the feelings (resentment, anger, hostility toward someone) that you've been clinging onto.

To dream that you are seeing the doctor, indicates your need for emotional and spiritual healing.

It's a loong story...that I've been trying to write down all day...maybe tomorrow.

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September 15, 2009


Every day for the last four weeks I feel that there are no more words left, no more tears left, but each day to (no longer) my surprise they (both) keep streaming. It's a gorgeous summer day. I'm sitting across the Hudson River with a spectacular view of the city, waiting for hubs to finish work so that we can go to Poconos - to get away, to breathe some fresh air, to relax, to clear the head. It's the same place we were four weeks ago. It took a lot of convincing for me to go, but I can't keep hiding forever. Everything is painful-the house, the dishes, food, friends, family, vacations.

I walked into the store today, not really willingly, just had a few hours to kill and there's really not much else to do in Jersey. The first thing I found (without even looking) was a sweater for my mom (those of you that know my mom can understand the significance) and I just burst into tears. I wanted to buy it. How many times did I look for a birthday present? A new years present? A mother's day gift? Ajust because? Without ever finding it. Why is it screaming at me now, "pick me up, buy me!?".

I don't know how I can look forward to anything anymore. J said something smart (again) yesterday, "U think u have to get over it, u never will, u just have to learn to live with it." How can I? Who will give me advice? Who will yell at me and hug me right after? Who's going to buy me a birthday present a month and a half in advance (or rather give me $ for another successful visit to Century)? Who will write me poems and give me newspaper clippings with useless
information? Who will talk to me for hours any time I want to?

I can keep blabbing, but for now I gotta keep driving. Ta Ta, for now.

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September 13, 2009

Lucky or not so lucky sevens...

So seven has been a pretty prominent number in my life (but more about that some other time), doing the race for the cure now, there's 7 of us on my team, the 7 dwarfs. The race is really empowering. We had a hard time parking, Ira is already at the finish line, while the rest of us just passed mile 2. The turnout is incredible, in celebration of "my life," "my mom," "my sister.". In memory of "my mom," "my mom, my nanna," "my daughter Susan.". There's definitely a herd mentality, but it makes you feel a part of something bigger. This won't bring mama back, but if it can save another mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, etc., it's worth all the effort, the $1500 that we raised in less than two weeks and in keeping my mom's heroism alive.

"In Loving Memory of Leonora," my mom, my hero, my role model, my hope. You're ALWAYS with me. This is for you.

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September 12, 2009


To see or dream that you are in a hospital, symbolizes your need to heal or improve your physical or mental heath. You need to get back to the flow of everyday life. Alternatively, it suggests that you are giving up control of your own body or that you are afraid of losing control of your body.

September 11, 2009

I want my mommy!

For everyone, it seems, life goes on. In some aspects I can even say that it went on for me. I mean I haven't locked myself in the house or anything. I see people when they aren't too busy or preoccupied with their own lives. We celebrated our three year anniversary yesterday. I check FB, odnoklassniki and email regularly. I booked a flight to Israel. But, I feel so empty, so lonely. Every smile is fake - it covers the tears and the pain underneath. I fight tears back ten
times a day, sometimes 10 times an hour, sometimes 10 times a minute. I can't explain this feeling. I can't explain this pain. I can't explain the weight of this loss. So I get frustrated.

My mom ALWAYS knew what I was feeling. I didn't necessarily have to tell her what's going on in my life for her to feel my emotions and know whether I was happy or sad. I didn't have to tell her the details of a fight or a date - being next to her made me understood. I will never forget a trip to Miami, when I called mama and from 3,000 miles away she said, you sound good, rested. I felt happy at the moment and the fact that she knew that from my voice just left me speechless. No, noone can ever replace that, but I think what makes me angry is that nobody even tries. Everyone moved on, they "did what they had to do." They came to the funeral, brought food during shiva, they called a few times and went on with their lives without stopping to think why can't I? Yes, life gets in the way and everyone has their own share of problems and happy occasions that they need to attend to. People may even get upset at me for not asking about their doc's appointment, choice of hair color or new purchase. Maybe I am preoccupied now and I deserve to be given some slack? Maybe I haven't been a good friend all these years? Maybe someone else needs to think about what my dad, husband and nephews need to eat on a daily basis? Maybe I always expect too much?

As usual, I don't have any answers, just a bunch of muddled questions in my clouded mind. I want my mommy! I need her and I will never see her again.

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"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."
-Randy Pausch

Race for the Cure 2009:

There's so much pain in this world.

It's another grim September morning. It's September 11. I'm watching the memorial, the nasty weather outside and my mom's picture. I cannot help but draw the parallel between cancer and terrorism. Cancer is a terrorist. It kills and destroys without regard for race, color, age, etc. It kills its own kind. Yes, terrorists are human-kind, but they are not worthy of being called people and I will continuously refer to them as "it." Those who have no regard for human life, not even their do not deserve to be called people, do not deserve to live. It goes back to the question of fairness, because so often they do. The broken families are left to pick up the pieces to fill the gaping void of a life lost prematurely, before its time - speak at a memorial, write on a blog, knowing that nothing will ever fill this emptyness.

Always Remember, Never Forget


September 9, 2009

Another book I've been meaning to read . . .

. . . it first stood out to me on a crowded subway, When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris. The title just seemed fitting at the time and while I had no idea who the author was or what the book was about, it just keeps popping up (not just on NYT Bestseller list). Some quotes that I just came across that . . . well that (without sounding redundant) made sense . . .

"If you're looking for sympathy you'll find it between shit and syphilis in the dictionary." David Sedaris (Barrel Fever: Stories and Essays)

"If you aren't cute, you may as well be clever." — David Sedaris (Me Talk Pretty One Day)

"Real love amounts to withholding the truth, even when you're offered the perfect opportunity to hurt someone's feelings" — David Sedaris (Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim)

"I haven't the slightest idea how to change people, but still I keep a long list of prospective candidates just in case I should ever figure it out." David Sedaris (Naked)
Another (bestseller) book that I've heard a lot about is, The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch based on his renowned lecture, which I've been meaning to watch. As I'm writing this my recent post is flashing in neon bulbs in my head. I will keep saying I need to read this, see that, spend time with, etc., instead of talking/blogging about it, maybe I'll head to the library tomorrow. I must add, however, that quiet a few of my tight-knit fanbase have been telling me that you're enjoying my posts as of late. I guess when life happens (no pun intended), there's just more to say than before. I know I've often blogged about keeping certain things private, but this is no secret and like I told V today, I don't do it for anyone but myself. I enjoy rereading my posts after time has passed. It's an online public diary of real day-to-day emotions. It's a venting mechanism. Maybe I do need a stroke of the ego every so often and that's the reason my blog is public and the reason I crave comments. I know you all have BBs, iPhones and are constantly glued to the computer. Be kind.

"We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand."Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. The brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They are there to stop the other people!" — Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"When it comes to men that are romantically interested in you, it’s really simple. Just ignore everything they say and only pay attention to what they do. It’s that simple. It’s that easy." — Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"The key question to keep asking is, Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all you have. "Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to lead your life, ... If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, the dreams will come to you." — Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

"If I only had three words of advice, they would be, Tell the Truth. If got three more words, I'd add, all the time." — Randy Pausch

"It's not how hard you hit. It's how hard you get hit...and keep moving forward."Randy Pausch (The Last Lecture)

I had a dream . . .

. . . interpretations welcome.

If you dream that you are on your way to the hospital to have a baby, then it signifies your issues of dependency and your desire to be completely cared for. Perhaps you are trying to get out of some responsibility.

If you dream about someone who has died could mean that you have unresolved feelings regarding them, or you didn't mourn enough for them.

The above is what I was able to find in regards to a pretty bizzare dream that I had last night. The dream left me so shaken up that even though I've shared it with several people, I couldn't bring myself to write about it. The dream was very vivid, I was in labor in the hospital waiting room with none other than my mom. Nobody else was there (except strangers). I went to use the restroom and felt the baby starting to come out, so holding the babies head with my hand, my mom and I are running through hospital hallways in search of a delivery room and/or doctor. Somehow in between, we caught a glimpse of my dad when the elevator stopped on our floor. What he was doing there or what he said, I don't remember. What's strange is that neither my hubby, sis or friends were there, it was just me and mama. The dream was so real that even in my dream I was fully aware that my water didn't break, that I wasn't having painful contractions, just that this baby needed to come out.

The other strange thing is a girl I know and share a birthday with gave birth a few days ago and for some reason I couldn't wait to tell her that we now have Virgo babies. I woke up before "giving birth" so I don't know if it's a boy or a girl. In reality, my maternal instinct is kicking me hard; almost as hard as the necessity to find a job and a house. I always wanted a boy. I even had a name picked out. I didn't like any girl names. Now, I want a girl. I want to buy pretty dresses and hair clips. I want to make braids and take her to the zoo, the museum, the theater, everywhere. I want to attempt to teach her at least half of what my mom taught me.

From my mom's collection of aforisms & poems . ..

September 8, 2009

"Я без тебя умеру"

Reading and rereading the diary that my mom kept with my perls of wisdom, I came across this phrase apparently uttered by me around age 5. I'm 25 (yes, I'll be 26 in two weeks, but who's counting?) and somehow I'm still breathing, walking, living. Yet, I feel completely empty, completely drained and no matter who I talk to, they just don't understand. I can't keep talking about me, there's nothing to say and to hear someone else's problems, well they just seem so petty now.

Speaking of talking (is that even proper?), people are strange. Maybe I am strange. Maybe I have a convoluted perception of everything. Then again, I always have. I feel that certain things should go without saying. I realize that noone is a mind-reader, but there are things that are either common courtesy or common sense. There are people that I haven't spoken to in ages that came to the funeral, but haven't followed up with a call since. Then, there are strangers that call often. I guess it all depends on the person. Everyone always has enough problems and drama in their own lives to worry about anyone else, but some people go the extra mile. Some do it habitually. Some do it for everyone. Some do it for a select few. Some don't do it at all. Having dealt with enough problems and drama in my own life, I often notice that it's strangers that will do more. It's my friend's mom making us dinner, it's an ex-landlord taking care of D's grandpa, it's a childhood friend/old co-worker/college classmate pledging money for the cancer walk I'm doing this Sunday. It's my mom's cousin that didn't call when my grandmother died or when my mom died. It's so much and nothing to say, because the only person I want to talk to is mama. I feel that she's here. She's home, downstairs and come morning I'll be able to catch her up to the latest gossip and she'll yell at me for the mess in the house, which I've actually been trying to clean up (sort of). It's everything being out of place - "ты моя любовница," I told my mom while hugging her (around the same age), and I know noone will ever love me as much. I pray that I have as much love to give my children and half as much wisdom as my mom gave me.

Komen Greater New York City - Race for the Cure 2009:

Komen Greater New York City - Race for the Cure 2009:

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September 7, 2009

It's NOT fair!

Life isn't fair. Duh! I don't have the toy that he has, I don't have the body that she has, I work harder than he does, she is smarter than me, etc. We are all placed in situations where we deem things to be unfair. We feel that someone, other than ourselves is getting preferential treatment. Sometimes, it really is the case. Sometimes, it's the cosmic powers that surround us that regardless of whether your believe in destiny or the power or positive thinking screw us over so much, that things really are NOT fair.

This seems to be a recurring theme in my life as of late. When I lost my job, one of the partners and I had a very long discussion about fairness. He told me how his entire client got outsourced (revenue included) whereas he was still doing the majority of the work (client meetings, negotiations and review of the tax work). A few weeks ago, leaving my parents' house, D also went on a rant how there's people that do drugs and commit crimes and live long and healthy lives whereas good people have to suffer. My mom died less than four days later. She never did drugs. She never smoked. She was loved by everyone she came in contact with, from the pharmacist (who called yesterday), to the manicurist (who called last week), to her friends (who are scattered worldwide), to the sales person in the russian store (who took phone orders from my mom), to the sixty plus people (who showed up to her funeral in a matter of three hours), to her husband (who is keeping all his pain inside), to me.

All I can do is write. There's nothing left to say. There are people that have trouble having children and then there are those that stuff babies into garbage cans. There are people who never experience loss and then there are those that lose entire families in an instant. There are people who don't love/like/communicate with their parents and then there are those that lose their mom, their rock and the foundation of their entire family at twenty-five. What's fair? Who's to decide? What can you do to change your destiny, because no amount of positive thinking will bring the people that we love back.

Week Three

Time keeps flying somewhere. It simply disappears. I find myself smiling more, but the heaviness in my chest isn't going anywhere. I still can't do certain things and yet, I end up doing more and more normal things. I have these mixed feelings about seeing a movie or going to a cafe with music and any time a car with the radio blasting passes by these feelings flood over me. I don't know what they are, the closest comparison I could come up with is guilt, but that's not accurate either. I am trying to be strong, mainly for my dad. I'm trying to act "normal" (whatever that means) for everyone around me. Yet, when the reality hits me, so do the tears.

My mom and I have been apart for weeks on end when either her or myself have been out of town, when I was working ridiculous hours, so to some extent the full reality of her loss hasn't really sunk in yet. I understand and am fully aware of everything that happened last month, what happened that stupid Monday, three weeks ago and the funeral on Tuesday. I don't want to believe it. I don't believe it. I can't believe it. Who knows what the right thing to do is? No, my mom wouldn't want me to suffer, but she wouldn't want me to move on so quickly either. It's like with my whole perception of Judaism, you do as much as you can. Everyone keeps saying that I did everything I could've when it came to my mom, but I don't. I feel like I could've done more. I should've tried harder. The feeling of helplessness, for me, is the worst. No matter, what I did, how hard I tried, the result was the same. It's just not fair!!!

September 3, 2009

Spasibo, XPEHOBO!

"Only by looking at you now, do I realize that it's much easier to die than to live."

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September 2, 2009

My Mom, My Hero

I think that most normal people love their mothers. I think that the majority of these people have good relationships with them and admire many of their character traits. Few people I know have the kind of relationships that I do with my mom. With small lapses when either one of us was out of town, my mom and I spoke every day, usually twice a day, sometimes 8 times a day. I could trust my mom with anything. I often didn't because I didn't want her to worry an extra time. By doing that I worried her even more, as I realize now. After finding out about my mom's sickness at a ripe age of twelve, I set myself a goal - my wellbeing is one less thing my parents have to worry about. I did well in school, I chose my own schools, I worked since age 15. Overall, with a few growing pains, I was a good kid. Yes, mama was worried about wrong crowds, drugs, late nights, but which normal parent isn't? Besides the late nights or early mornings, as my mom called them; a few bad seeds that I never called friends and quickly got discarded, she was happy with how I turned out. Mama raised me well - I know how to read and write in two languages (product of immigration, but my mom was always the go to person for any help with russian vocabulary when playing "balda," "goroda" or "pasochki"), I have a strong respect for the arts and an even stronger respect for people, I could set the table and cook a meal (although the golubtzi and borscht are two recipes that will take me years to recreate). She taught me the values of hard work, the importance of family and the necessity in always remaining human, or rather humane. She knew my harships, she faced many more. I know that my mom was extremely proud of me and the wow that I took at age 12 will hold true for me forever. I have a hero to look up to. Many people have said that my mom deserves a monument while she is alive. She will soon get one, unfortunately she won't be here to see it. My mom never talked about being sick, she talked about her youth, her family, her friends. She was always more concerned about first me, her mom (while she was alive), my dad, her dad, family, friends. She has a LOT of friends. I do too. Addresses changed, circumstances changed, they got older, but their friendships lasted. My mom's willpower didn't falter till the very last day. Yet, she still didn't want to take an extra pill to ease her pain. As J said, "she didn't leave [me], she was taken away from [me]." While that's true in the physical sense, noone will ever take mama away from me. She is me and I am her. She's my hero and I will live to keep making her as proud as she's always been and then some.

I love you mulya.

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Random acts of kindness, memories and the small things that change lives

Obviously, one's parents have a profound effect on one's life. My mom has definitely made a tremendous impact on mine. She made me, shaped me, instilled values in me, passed down annoying character traits and had the biggest overall effect. My mom made significant impact on lives of others as I am beginning to learn. Yes, we can start with my dad. But, they didn't meet until she was 31. With one letter (which for as long as I can remember has been claimed by my dad to be the reason he married my mom since "it was the first letter he received in his life that had no grammatical errors") lives changed forever. Myparents were married. I was born.

Today, amidst moving boxes of my stuff into my parents apartment, I received a letter from one of my mom's friends. She's a journalist, so needless to say it was well-written. They've been friends for 35 years and living on separate sides of the globe for the last twenty. The letter spoke of how they met, some of their escapades and memories in general. The letter made be both cry and laugh especially after rereading several times.

After sitting with my nephews, a gazillion calls, arranging for a job interview tomorrow and several visits to car dealerships, my parents friends' from Canada decided to "drop in" and pay their respects. Oleg and my mom met in 1974 when he came to her library and she gave him an "intelligent" book to read. They soon became friends and after seeing one of his performances at the Lvov theater (he's an actor), my mom told him backstage, "I know you can do better." He took it to heart and this changed his life and he went on to study acting more seriously and his talent is remarkable. He sang his "crown" song at our wedding, Besame Mucho, but I've seen him do better.

It's both uplifting and sad to see these people and hear these stories. I constantly go through pictures (from yesterday and from 40 years ago). It calms me, sometimes. Really it makes me see what a wonderfully smart, charismatic, beautiful, vivacious and loving woman my mom is. It makes me extremely proud to be her daughter and to strive each and every day to be as wonderfully smart, charismatic, beautiful, vivacious and loving. There aren't enough adjectives to describe my mom, but hopefully if what I am planning will work out (with a lot of work and a little bit of luck), I will be able to collect enough adjectives and learn of many more life-changing stories, transatlantic friendships and little anecdotes to ensure that my mom's legacy lives not only within me.

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