My sister Emily met her husband Jason at the Matzo Ball, an annual Jewish singles event in Arizona. When she called me to tell me his last name, I realized that they had a very special connection. Jason’s father was part of a trio of best friends from childhood growing up that included my father as well. They were the 3 Larrys, which included my dad Larry Ochs and Jason’s dad Larry Levin. They were close buddies up through college and then the three moved in different circles in Michigan once they got married and had children. Larry Levin unfortunately passed away while Jason was 18 years old and they were on a family vacation. Emily had never met Jason’s dad and up to that point, Jason had not met ours.
When they started dating and later got engaged, they realized how amazing the connection really was. At their engagement party, high school friends of the 3 Larrys came out to AZ (as did the 3rd Larry, Larry Novick, who lives in California.) They all sat and laughed and told Jason, who had never met some of these people, stories about his dad that he had never heard before. My dad still has memories of Larry that he shares with Jason. And now our Larry is the only grandfather on either side for Emily & Jason’s 3 year old twins Max & Lara (named for Larry).
Recently, I went with a bunch of women to hear medium Rebecca Rosen speak. She is well known for being able to connect with the deceased loved ones of people in her presence. Included in this group was my mother and I, and lifelong friends Sherrie and Heather. Sherrie bought all 4 tickets under her name. Ours were never listed. We were stunned as Rebecca was able to communicate with family members of audience members throughout the room. My Uncle Bob, who had just passed away, came out loud and clear, telling us he was so happy where he was because he could “smoke anything he wanted there.” He talked about his love for Cadillacs (which were his passion, along with his cigars) and then he told us he was with my Grandmother Shirley.
My Grandma Shirley, who died when I was 8, came through and told my mom and I that she is with the 3 girls all the time (meaning my mom, sister and I). She gave specifics of things she was doing (eating: you could eat anything you want where she was, and hanging out with her sister who had just died. She said they had finally resolved their differences: she and her sister were not speaking when my grandmother died) She yelled at my mom to get her back checked out (she has back issues) and talked about her love of cruise ships (all valid). But then Rebecca Rosen said to us “Who is Sam or Sammy?” I stood up and said he was my son. She said to me that my Grandma said to tell me she is so proud of Sam and what he is doing and that he can see her and they communicate. When I called Sam and asked him what she meant, he said, I know who she is. I see her. (When Sam was a baby, he used to be entertained by nothing for hours. I used to say someone was standing there in front of him making him laugh. Now I know who it was..)
After the events of today in Boston, we are going to hear a lot of heartbreaking stories, and we are also going to hear a lot of stories of near-misses (“I just missed standing there by 2 seconds, or I was too sick or I would have been right there today”) It would be great to think that there are people, up above the world so high, that are watching out for us. That there are people who grab our hands silently and say, I don’t think you should go down this street. Go over here. How many times have you been saved by a millisecond (if I didn’t look to my right one more time before I crossed the street, I would have been hit by that car; If I would have gotten on that flight, or train, or bus, it would be me on the news. I didn’t send her to school today because she was tired, and if she had, she would have been one of the ones who were shot.)
Do I think Larry Levin brought my sister and Jason together on purpose? I hope so (even though Jason is completely wrong on all things political and, um, a “bit” argumentative on several issues.) Do I think my Grandma Shirley is helping me to make decisions about Sam? I would hope so. I hope that we all have someone up there watching out for all of us, guiding us to make the right decisions.
What about all of the people who got hurt or died today? Where were their spirit guides? I wish I had the answers, but, Rebecca Rosen firmly believes that there is a plan and a reason for everything, including tragedy. Do we have to believe this? No. But what choice do we have ? Isn’t it comforting to think that at some point, in the end, we will finally understand why senseless tragedy occurs? That maybe someone in the beyond can pull us aside and say, “Here, let me tell you why.”
Lauren said to me tonight, “The only way to make bad things stop happening in this world is to turn around and do more good things so that the good outweighs the bad.” She also said we should stop watching the news and looking at the pictures because it won’t change anything that happened. Of course we want to know who did this and why. But will it bring anybody back? Sam said to me, “The show must go on and we must continue to make people smile and laugh. That is my job in all of this”
Out of the mouths of our future leaders. Hope they can continue to help us as we struggle down here to figure out what our purpose is in this world. And I hope the stars up above can shine some light on happier days to come.