Friday, March 17, 2017

Kaddish in Hawaii

A few weeks ago, Ruben and I took a fabulous vacation to Hawaii. I was desperately in need of a getaway after dealing with so much grief.

While in Hawaii, I tried to say Kaddish for my Dad in all kinds of places. I included my dad while saying Kaddish at Pearl Harbor. I said Kaddish for my father at Temple Emanu-El- the Reform Congregation in Honolulu. I said Kaddish while staring a beautiful waterfall. And because I knew he'd get a "kick out of it," I even attempted to say Kaddish underwater. All these recitations (and more) allowed me to give thanks to God and symbolically have my father with me.

While in Hawaii, people asked us why we were taking the vacation there. I think they had presumed we'd say it was our anniversary or some other big occasion.  Instead, I often told people about our loss and then had a chance to share how amazing my father was. While I don't think he and I ever discussed his own wanting to go to Hawaii, I know he would have loved hearing about our trip. And according to my mom, I know they did occasionally watch "Hawaii 5-0."

Yes, we saw snow in Hawaii! My dad didn't love the snow- but he would have thought this was cool!

He would have loved hearing about our trip which included a great appreciation of nature- both in the water and on the land. I believe he'd have appreciated hearing about how we saw turtles, whales, fish and other animals. I know he would have asked questions about what we saw, who we met and what kind of delicacies we tried.

I also know that much of my appreciation for all the natural beauty in the world was a true gift from my father- a man who always supported environmental and animal causes. While I'm so sorry, I can't hear my father's reactions to my trip, I do believe I can still share in what he would have enjoyed.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Trees and My Dad

In honor of Tu B'shevat ("The Birthday of the Trees"), I read "The Giving Tree," by Shel Silverstein to our Religious School (Gesher). I know that at different ages and at different times, this book can mean different things. I've always loved the story and, taken it to mean that we need to be grateful for all the fruit of the earth- all the gifts of the trees.

However, this morning, as I read it to a room full of kids and adults, I became overwhelmed...I thought of how much that tree gave to the boy and how grateful I am of all that my parents have given and continue to give to me. Maybe for the first time, I really saw the tree as human, today- I saw the tree as my beloved father. Through my tears, I finished the story, realizing that like the tree was happy by giving, I know my dad too was happy that he was able to provide for us, give of himself completely and in turn make us happy. He gave us everything he could and now, we can rest on the wonderful memories of all the time together. The boy never says it, but I will- Dad....I am so grateful- Thank you!

(As an aside, my dad and I had a special connection where we were once playing a guessing game- like 20 questions. He thought of something and my first guess was "Oak Tree." That was what he was thinking! That was forever one of our many special connections...I miss you so much dad!)

Monday, January 30, 2017

Still Crying

A day hasn't gone by since my father passed that I haven't cried while thinking of him. Sometimes I cry because of how much I miss him and sometimes I cry remembering something funny he said or fun that we did together. Sometimes I cry because I just wish I could tell him something.

This mourning- grieving process is hard. My heart literally still aches.  I heard recently in an episode of "Code Black" how a character wouldn't give up the pain she feels because it reminds her of the love she had for those who passed on.  I don't like the pain- but I guess I'm learning to live with it, in order to be so grateful for all I got to do with my dad.

I'd like to share as many pics of him as is a pic of when he was there supporting me as I shaved my head to help raise money for childhood cancer research.  We had seen the musical "Rocky," earlier in the afternoon- then he had a chance to support me (he might even had used the razor) and then we had a nice dinner to finish up an amazing day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

My dad- Stephen Jay Losben, MD

My amazing father- Stephen Jay Losben, MD was born on December 11, 1946 and died 3 days after his 70th birthday on December 14th, 2017.  In those way too short 70 years, my father touched many, many lives- as a loving father, devoted husband, caring brother, dutiful son, wonderful friend and quite literally as an phenomenal Dermatologist. Words cannot even begin to express the impact of his life on so many people. I am left heart-broken, bereft and yet grateful for all my wonderful moments with my father.

In the Jewish tradition we offer the prayer of the "Mourner's Kaddish" to remember our loved ones and to thank God for all that was good in their life and for allowing the loved one to be in our own life. When a Jew loses an intimate family member, they are encouraged to offer this prayer everyday for a year.  While I intend to offer the prayer- I believe it will be as (or even more) powerful to also spend the year sharing memories and pictures of my dad.

Some posts may be a paragraph, a joke, a favorite song, a picture....this is just a way for me to remember my amazing father. I encourage you to comment- or send me stuff to post/share.  I encourage to share stories of my dad or even your own loved ones whom you lost. I hope this can be just one of the many ways my father- Steve, Stephen, SJL, Doc...daddy- will live on!