It’s almost 24 hours since I received the news that my father’s cousin, Mandel “Bill” Berman died at the young age of 99. Bill, as I grew up to know him was a loving, gentle soul, always with a kind word, a smile, and a story to tell. (http://www.crainsdetroit.com/article/20161221/NEWS/161229958/developer-philanthropist-mandell-bill-berman-dies-at-99)
My heart breaks today as I last saw him at my mother’s funeral just two months ago. He walked in tall and straight as a young man would and spoke gently and kindly not only of my mom who he had visited just weeks before but of my father who he grew up with and treated like a brother.
Over the years I have had the pleasure to correspond with Bill and to share my immediate family with him as he understood the trials and tribulations of having a family member on the Autism Spectrum as he is very proud of his granddaughter who has proven the IMPOSSIBLE herself. Sara like Alex has struggled to make it in a traditional world but she is succeeding and Bill so much wanted the same for our Alex too. He took pride in the updates, and he advised me not to stop DREAMING and working with Alex and reaching for the stars. However, he also reminded me nothing comes free you must work hard and pay it forward, and we do, with, MY I’MPOSSIBLE DREAM.
Today, Mandel “Bill” Berman joins many of his family members including his sister the late Esther Berman in the heavens above. I am sure my mom and dad are greeting him as well. For many of you that may be reading this, if you grew up in Detroit around 7 Mile and Shaffer you may remember The United Hebrew School Building named after Bill’s sister Esther Berman where her picture proudly hung at the end of the hall.
Losing a loved one is difficult, losing one around a holiday is harder because you feel it’s insensitive to celebrate. However, when that relative has lived a good life (99 years,) why not celebrate life and the miracle of it. For me, the holiday is Chanukah, and the celebration of Chanukah is about a miracle. The destruction of the Temple and enough oil only to keep the menorah lit for one night lasted for eight is the reason to rejoice despite the ruins. Notwithstanding the passing of Bill, my Mother (DVasha age 96 ½ ), my cousin Gloria (gone too soon,) my Aunt Jean, and my Aunt Leiba; in their memory and their honor we must celebrate a miracle of life that they shared with all of us.
In my DVasha Series, I have reached out to my Hospice Contacts, my JCARE Friends and the Aids and the Associates who make Senior Life a blessing. I have also reconnected with family and friends from my past and made some new friends along the way to find a better understand of living life to the fullest, bringing cheer to the young and elderly alike and leaving no one out.
If I learned one thing from Bill and my dad, (J Harmon Moss) you are never promised tomorrow, so live your life today and let those that you care about know you care. Find a way to say I LOVE YOU!