Graffiti by Yoel, I’m Pretty Sure

I have been walking up and down the stairs for over a dozen times since September 20, 2016. Today, I finally paid attention to this writing on the wall. I looked at the handwriting. I am pretty sure it is Yoel’s. That carefully formed letter. There was the same writing on the back on his closet. I need to take a picture of it before I repaint the walls. Maybe, I will leave this spot unpainted and shelac it for protection. 

Yoel listened to Amazon Music which came with Amazon Prime subscription. I was very sad that he deleted all his playlist before he went. His phone was cleaned out too. I wish he left me his letters or his diaries. It looked as if he had torn off the written pages of his diaries and tossed them out. I sometimes worry that I am talking and thinking too much about the child who is gone rather than the children I have here with me. I cannot help it. He’s never far from my mind. All throughout the day, I think about my children in one form or the other. 

However, when Yoel comes to my mind, it is markedly different than when I think about Chana, Yoav, Yossi or Yoash.  Thinking about Yoel come with guilt, regrets, pain, happpiness, nostalgia and a whole potpourri of emotions.

If I remember correctly, on the back of Yoel’s closet are the worlds: “this family is full of…” the last word is blackened out. I am thinking of erasing it lightly and finding out what was written there. Although if Yoel is anything like me at that age, I would have written the word “shit – if I wa unhappy” or “love – if I was happy” and a range of words in between. 

It is now 290 days since Yoel went. I have only dreamed of him once. On my birthday last February 26.  I would like to dream more often about him.  I would like to hear him talk with me in my dreams. Talk with me like when he was a lived and we would just talk about everything and nothing.


The choices of stone for the TOMBSTONE or GRAVESTONE or whatever they call it. The bottom line is, it is going to mark the location of where my son is buried. I would have preferred shopping for his car. Yoel’s car.

Today, my husband and I talked with a person at the Cemetery to buy a headstone for Yoel’s grave. It is going to be unveiling in about 70 days. I dragged my feet about purchasing one. Today, before my appointment, I just realized that this is just one more thing reminding me that he’s no longer in my living world. I sat in my car for 20 minutes and sobbed. I sobbed so hard, I cannot get words out of my mouth. It felt like he died all over again. I did not want to be there. I did not want to be selecting stones for his grave. 

But as a mom left behind, it is what I have to do. I have no idea being dead can cost so much money. Yoel is burried in the Jewish section of the cemetery. The headstone that would span the three plots we have there cost anywhere from 11K – 15K. I wanted to get him the colors of stones he usually picked when we pick stones in our trip. Yoel is careful with his money. I am very sure he would be hurried at how expensive everything is.

As I was sobbing in my car today, I noticed that for about a couple of minutes, both my arms with numb and tingly. The same sensation when the blood rushes back after a circulation has been cut off. I should ask my doctor later just to make sure. My youngest is only 11 years old. I just cannot leave my children until they are grown.


We stopped by and saw Yoel’s grave. There is a small marker that was placed there on the day of the funeral.  The headstone will go to this spot later. Maybe, Chana will visit the cemetery when the headstone is in place. I would hate for my other children to forget about Yoel. I am sure they won’t, but they also do not mention him often enough. I think.

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Clearing My Head

I was looking at my Amazon Photos and saw a series of pictures I took with my Sony Ericsson phone over half a dozen years ago. This is my 3rd child, Yoav, in the picture. He was swimming and building sand castles in San Francisco Bay while I was huddled under a blanket trying to stay warm. That was a good mommy-son vacation. I was glad to take it. We went biking just about everywhere. Over Golden Gate Bridge, in Golden Gate Park, around Fisherman’s Wharf.  We went to Sacramento and toured Winchester Mansion. That was truly an odd house. Yoav loved it. He liked architectural mystery. Now, it will be more difficult to take vacation with this child of mine. He’s 15 and just getting religious. He pretty much won’t go anywhere where there are half-clad females.

Right now, I have the whole PERIDOT COFFEE place to myself. It is located at 2249 Royal Lane, Suite 101, Dallas. The better to get my bearings and get some things off my chest. I just had two cup of black tea, and I have moved on to Thai Bubble tea. It is cold and sweet. Two things I do not usually go for, but it is a perfect drink for today’s weather. Hot and humid Dallas. 

This is my second child, Yoel, and my husband. Taken one summer at Grapevine Lake when we went walking there to pass the time. Yoel died on September 20, 2016. A Tuesday. I heard the news while I was just finishing my afternoon docket at Dallas Municipal Court. I think I heard a wail of a wounded animal from a distance. Today, I realized that it might have been me. I am almost sure it was me. I think some cops took my keys for fear that I’d drive home in that state. My brother in-law picked me up and drove my car home. Do you know that when a loved one die of unnatural causes they become a property of the county? And if you are a Jew following Jewish tradition of mourning, you’re never seeing that loved one again in this world. I do not remember seeing Yoel on Monday. He was in school and when he came home, he went to his room to sleep early. We talked on the phone and exchanged text as I was leaving to go to the gun range. 

I did not know that was going to be the last time I would hear his voice. On Sunday before, he spent most of the day with me. Did he know that he was leaving then? Why didn’t I know. He sat with my in my room and watch some Korean drama. Laughed our heads off. He went to sleep for some time in our bed. When he woke up, he went with me downtown when I have to do some work-related stuff. We stopped by Dickeys near Henderson. He didn’t have much of an appetite. Then we went home. That was our last day together.

I must have been delusional thinking that I would know if anything is wrong with my children. I asked him if he had anything to tell me. He said there was none. He wanted us to listen to his favorite music. It’s from a racing game. The music is about 12 minutes long. We were stuck in traffic along US-75 anyway. So we did. When we got home, we watched a Korean reality show about actors becoming soldiers. It was pretty funny and we laughed our heads off.  Then my sister came with some pizza, and Yoel left for some other parts of our house. That was must last clear memory with him.

This is Yoel at Palo Duro Canyon off Amarillo. We climbed to the top of one of the hills and found this cavern. Yoav and Chana climbed up too. I wouldn’t let Yoav go down to where Yoel was because Yoav is overweight and I was afraid he would injur himself on the way in or out. Yoel loved walking off trails. Nothing cemented, just dirt. We went here on a winter break and walked all over the park. Then it snowed and we have to cut our vacation short by a day because we have to be back home by Wednesday. Work. We have multiple Sunday-Wednesday vacation. 

It is now 289 days since Yoel went away. I know I have to shop for that headstone for the unveiling. However, I have extraordinary talent of procrastination. I gave myself until last week to at least talk with the cemetery person to make sure the headstone I pickup is in compliance. I do not want to be picking up a headstone. I want my son back. I feel like the family dynamic had changed a lot since Yoel die. 

My daughter would usually walk out of the room if we talk about Yoel too much. Sometimes, she high tails it out of anywhere by the first mentioned. My other boys just don’t want to go anywhere. Taking all 6 of us on a trip is a monumental effort on my part and often unsuccessful. Was it always this hard to get them on a family vacation or is it recent. I don’t know anymore. We went on two trip already with incomplete family. The Galveston trip we took over Spring break was without Chana and Yoav. Chana was in San Antonio for a concert. Yoav just stayed home. Then, we went to New York for a summer trip. We have only Chana and Yossi with us. Yoav wanted to come, but it was late when he mentioned it. Yoav wanted to come because he wanted to check out Monsey as a possible option to go to school and live a religious life. 

I think I was exhausted today. I am upset about my dead child. Upset about my spouse who refuses to go to the doctor. I am scare because I feel like he is going to join Yoel leaving me alone. I am mad because there doesn’t seem to be anything I can do about it. I should just catch up on my sleep and see if I feel any better when I wake up. This should be enough unloading for the day. I will probably read this later and find many grammatical errors and annoy myself.

Starting Over


I saw this picture from a family trip we took after I took the bar exam in July 2015. I miss all of us. I used to have five children.  I kept thinking now that from this picture on, I had a year to live with Yoel, my second child, my oldest son. This was a trip to Arches National Park in Moab, Utah on August 2015.

On September 20, 2016, my second child, Yoel, died. On the 21st was Chana’s 19th birthday, the 22nd was Yoel’s funeral, and on the 23rd was Yoav’s 15th birthday. I think in numbers. For example: I have 1 husband, but we have had 3 weddings.  We have 5 children, and this coming October, we will be celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary. My children are currently at age 19, 15, 12, 11. Yoel died at 17 years, 8 months, and 7 days. It has been 263 days and I have yet to mail the autopsy report request. I got the form all filled up. I just have not been able to mail it. Yet.  Now, I think I am ready to read it.  I want to know when my son died. I wish I also could know what his thoughts were during the last moment of his life.

I am not sure how to live my life after.  All I know is I cannot check out of it because I do have 4 children and a husband who still needs me. I think I hole up a lot in my corner of the couch just trying to survive.  Some days, I fear that I cannot hold it together.  Other days, I felt normal. I started this blog again because I wanted a place to just be. I do not need audience. I do not oppose them.  It is not the reason I started this blog.

I might write more than once a day to sort my thoughts. I might not write at all. I just want a place to think in written form, to reminisce about Yoel, to plan for the future, and to worry.