Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bari: Always and Forever

Coincidences? Or something else? 

I wrote a blog over a year ago how, when I went to a Bar Mitzvah, when I opened the prayer book, first I saw that that particular prayer book was in honor of Marcy, my daughter. Her best friend had bought the space to raise money for the new books. Then I found a paper stuck in the prayer book with my daughter’s name on it honoring her death date. It had been in there for a few months. None of the other books had that sheet in it. They’d been taken out months before. What were the odds that I would pick up the one book out of hundreds that had mentioned her name twice. It has been almost 21 years. I believe it was meant to happen and Marcy was probably watching from above.

When I read the following story (reprinted with permission here) in Grief Digest by Sheila Swedlow, I understood perfectly how this mother felt. Our children are always with us, in life and in death.

                                                Bari: Always and Forever
When my third daughter was born on April 18, 1968, there was never a question as to what we would call her. She was named Bari after my father, Benjamin, who was loved beyond the death of intensity. It is an unusual name, a sweet name, a name of importance; a name that brings a smile.
On April 6, 2009, forty years after her birth, our Bari left our lives forever. We felt as if our souls had been extinguished; our hearts had been shattered; our breathing, diminished. But to this very minute, whenever her name is spoken, we are overcome with a special feeling of warmth and joy. The name Bari is a special ray of sunshine.

It has been two and a half years since our family entered the immeasurably painful and dark world of grief, cut the name Bari keeps appearing at the most unexpected times. It presents itself for a reason—to exemplify the continued presence of my daughter. Her special name appears at the least expected of times and it is welcomed with a feeling of wonder.

As I drive through Long Beach, I can feel Bari in the passenger seat of my Audi. She was always with me, she lived in our home, and she was my companion in shopping. Her presence is always such a strong feeling that I have to look at and touch the now empty leather seat. One day, while gazing at her picture (now placed on my dashboard), a vehicle pulled up next to my car. The writing on the side of the truck read, “Bari’s Van.” It was so strange to feel her distinctly strong presence at the exact time I saw her name appear! Can a coincidence simply be a reality of what is?

After Bari’s passing, my elder daughter, Lori, and I were walking through the town of Cedarhurst. Lori  grieved with the silent ache of losing her sister, but together we gave each other comfort. As we emerged from a local restaurant, suddenly, we saw a brand new sign with dark, bold letters. We stood stuck, as if in cement, because staring down at us were words that read, “Bari’s Fish.” The wonder continued; could a sign be a message?

When it was time to select a monument for my daughter’s grave, the experience was surreal. We had decided that the color would not be gray, for Bari was happy and sparkling, and this stone had to represent who she was. All at once, the perfect color jumped out at us from among the rest. It was a combination of rose and pink, and it was soft and pleasing. We had looked at many stones, but nothing else appealed like this one. It was then that we learned that the name of the stone was listed in their brochure as “Barrie Granite.” It was such an unheard of connection, and it came at such a vital time.

Another year passed after the unveiling at the grave, and my daughter, Amy was preparing a celebration for my twin grandsons’ Bar Mitzvah. Looking for a gown is difficult at any time for me, but shopping with the heaviness of heart in knowing that my Bari would not share in this joyous occasion was additionally hard. Then it happened: Lori ran out of the dressing room with a gown in hand yelling, “Ma, look what I found. Try this on!” It was shocking, unbelievable, more than amazing, for my daughter’s name appeared on the inside label of the gown. I can’t remember the last name of the designer, but that is of no importance. It was her first name that imploded the realization: her name was Bari, the same as my child’s!

It has now been four months since the name Bari has appeared in unexpected places at unknown times. But each time it happens, there is a confused combination of feelings, so intense in nature. An inexplicable wonder occurs that leads me to possibilities and hope. I am enlightened and encouraged because of these miraculous encounters. They are strong and even healing, because with each one there is the awakening that we are never apart from the ones we love.

And so I navigate ahead, awaiting the next word to appear that will speak through in silence and repeat the name, Bari!

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