January 26, 2012 Three Stocks

My Dad, may he rest in peace, was a stockbroker. Not just a stockbroker, but a great stockbroker. He parlayed a very little bit of money into a very nice nest egg– and it was through a great mind and vociferous reading.

One of my most favorites of his adages (besides his oft repeated “fear and greed rule the market”) was that you only really have three stocks in life– and if one of them is down, it really doesn’t matter what’s going on with the other two. Meaning that if you didn’t have your health, it didn’t matter how great your job was or how much you were loved.

I miss him very much. I always knew that, when he died, I would miss him as much as I do, and for a long time, I toyed with telling him that, thinking that in some way, the information would make him happy. Knowing how much he was loved. But David convinced me not to– and he was right. It would have only made him sad to think that I was hurting and more importantly, knowing my Dad, to think about all the love and adulation he would be missing out on.

So when I went on Monday for a very fast but extremely painful test– which turned out just fine– I thought about how grateful I am to live a life without physical pain (oh yeah except for my shoulder thing!) ; to live a life surrounded by amazing friends and a more amazing husband;  to have the proverbial sun in the morning and moon at night; and to have had, for as much time as I had him, a truly amazing, difficult, confounding, brilliant, unusual, and loving father. I am truly unreservedly, unabashedly grateful.


  1. The most hurtful thing someone can say to you is, “it gets easier, give it time.” Obviously, a person who says something as stupid and minimizing as that has been fortunate enough to have never REALLY experienced the loss of a loved one. I have not been so lucky. I have experienced the two worst nightmares one can live through, the loss of a child and the loss of a spouse. Not one day goes by that I don’t look at Daniel’s 8 ½ year old sister Madison and wonder what life would have been like if he had not been born so sick, survived the most torturous 8 months and 1 day, and died on February 24, 2004. I remember the first therapist Carolyn & I went to told us, “give it a year, it gets easier, give it time.” What a moron! How could she have said that to us? How does she know the exact timetable of grief? Let me clue you in. There is no timetable you just hurt!

    Then, 5 ½ years later, like she had not suffered enough, my one true love, my sole mate, my best friend, the beautiful girl I met at the Williamsburg Y in June of 1977, was told she had stage 4 colon cancer. The cancer had metastasized to both lobes of the liver and her battle would be a difficult one. Almost like a terrifying déjà vu, I watched Carolyn suffer unspeakable pain, live through the nightmare of having to say goodbye to her children (Sammy was 14 and Madison was 6) and then finally, mercifully pass away on February 27, 2010. Almost 6 years (to the day!) after I had to bury my baby Daniel, I had to put the love of my life in the ground next to him.

    Please don’t wonder why I hate the month of February. I’m still amazed how I get up in the morning after never getting a restful night’s sleep. How I don’t slap people in the face every time they complain about some trivial inconvenience in their lives (Pathways?). How I can still function when I wake up crying in the middle of the night and turn over to find untouched pillows next to me in the bed.

    By this time you must be wondering why I chose to post this on “Mincha Moment.” What does my sad story have to do with being grateful? Love! The reason I hurt so intensely is because I love so deeply. What am I grateful for? I am grateful for my kids, who I love more than I can ever express in words! I am grateful for the 33 years I had Carolyn in my life! My memories are bittersweet, but comforting. We had some unbelievably great years. For that I am very thankful and will be everyday for the rest of my life!

    Let me give you a clue, time does not make things easier, it makes things different! My new catch phrase is, “I’m learning my new normal.” Maybe I should try, “Different not easier.”

  2. sally gonsher benney January 26, 2012 at 10:53 am

    Debra, your video was as always lovely and of course makes a person think.
    your blog on the other hand knocked my socks off, talking about your dad so lovingly always makes me cry.

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