Friday, May 25, 2007


I'm a weekly attendee at one of my local synagogues, but in the beginning of the month I went to pray (Daven) for my fathers soul (Neshama), something that we as Jews do on the anniversary (Yertziet) of our loved ones passing. I led the prayer services in his memory and will do the same every year.

I was 14 years old when my father died. I remember always wanting to stay home instead of sleeping over a friend’s house or leaving for an extended period of time in fear that something would happen and I wouldn’t be there. Even though I felt this way I still went out and did the things that 14 year old boys do, so when I went to my friend’s house for the weekend I talked myself into believing that everything was going to be ok.....again.

Friday May 3rd, 1985 at approx. 7:15am I remember giving my dad what would be the last kiss I would ever give him. I always made sure to kiss my parents every morning before I left the house to catch the bus to school. Again, I didn’t like being away from home but I told myself that irrational thoughts of something tragic happening was completely ridiculous, and for as many times that I convinced myself that that was true, this time it wasn’t.

The phone rang at my friend’s house Sunday morning at around 6:00am. The phone was in my friend’s hallway so I heard his mother pick up:

Pause (15 sec.)
OK, bye
Click (my friends mother was obviously being informed and given instructions at the same time)

She came into our room and told me that Mrs. Weiss was going to pick me up soon to take me home; which I thought was a bit strange. A half hour later she picked me up. The 25 minute car ride was filled with small talk, nothing that I can remember.

Instead of taking me to my house Mrs. Weiss brought me to my sister’s home which was a bit odd, but didn’t really think anything of it. When I walked in I was directed to the back bedroom. An uncomfortable feeling came over me as I headed down the hallway. As I opened the door I heard my mother crying, I immediately ran to her and asked her what was wrong, my sister came in a mess. It was at that moment in time that my life would change forever.

I had mentioned in one of my posts that I make sure to remember some of the little things that my dad and I did together so that I wouldn’t forget them as time continues. There are so many things that we did, but the one thing that I enjoyed the most was fishing. We used to spend weekends out on the boat and a couple of times a year he used to surprise me with special fishing trips to places that we've never fished before. I learned that my dad was going to surprise me with one of those trips the week he died.

Since my father past away, I’ve gone fishing a few times, but it wasn’t the same. A few weeks ago I decided that I was going to teach my oldest son the trade. I went to the sporting goods store with James, he picked out his own rod and reel, and I purchased a fishing license. We’re set. We went back home and my daughter Elizabeth decided that she may want to go as well. There is always room for one more, always.

We hope to create our own memories this weekend.


Greg said...

I saw your post about your family. I am a New York Times bestselling author working on a new book about father-daughter relationships and thought you might want to contribute. Please visit my page for details about submitting stories for Daddy's Little Girl.

Gregory E. Lang
Author, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad

Sara said...

Bruce, I know how hard anniversary days are. I lost my Dad to Cancer in Sept 2005.This past 2 yrs have been the worst of my life...and I still cry at night cuz I miss him so much. I hope you and your Son & daughter enjoy making new memories, I am sure your Dad will be with you !!

BStrong said...

Sara: Thanks. I hope he makes the fish bite to:) Also, I forgot to mention in my last response to you that my name is Brian. I have cousin Bruce.

Kim Ayres said...

I don't think I've asked before, but was it a sudden and unexpected death, or was he ill and in decline for some time?

If it makes you uncomfortable discussing it, please ignore or delete this comment.

BStrong said...

Kim: My father died suddenly from a massive heart attack a week after he received a clean bill of health from his doctor.

Princess Morgan said...

What a wonderful tradition to pass on to your children. They will treasure it as much as you did with your father. So sorry to hear you lost him at such a young age. Thank you for sharing you very special & personal memories.

Kim Ayres said...

Thanks for sharing, Brian.

Hope you have a great weekend :)

Sara said...

oppss sorry, where did I get Bruce from :p

Dori (Aviva's mommy) said...

I have tears in my eyes reading this. But it is nice to follow through with what you did with your dad to your kids.


BStrong said...

Thank you all for your kind words. The anniversary of my fathers passing is always very difficult for me. Thanks for listening.

Jeff said...


I read this after I say the pics from your fishing trip.

I am sure your father watched you from above with a big smile on his face.