A REMEMBERANCE OF BONNIE BRAFMAN, 4/4/73 TO 12/22/08
Ever since Bonnie Beth was born on an extremely rainy spring afternoon, we had a feeling she was a gift from God in the highest sense. When she was born without problems the rain ceased. We always welcomed her birthday and spring. Passover was usually right around her date, a great time for a great baby: new life all around.
For the past 3 years we have found it very difficult to think of being happy, surrounded by family for the holidays. No matter what we do or how we try to “be happy” like others around us, we still miss her terribly.
Why were people laughing, going about their lives? Of course I knew the answer, but my brain had trouble wrapping around it. Why was I walking around, talking, eating and doing other mundane things of daily life? Why didn’t I want to die too? Friends and relatives were around us, yet, in those early days I felt so isolated. The only person who knew what I was going through was my husband. It was us against the world. I could not “think straight” most of the time. As time passed we found salvation in support groups; something guided us there.
Bonnie always showed psychic tendencies and was amazingly accurate. As she drew closer to the end of her life these tendencies grew ever stronger. It helped me and brought us even closer than we were,. About 3 weeks before she passed away she told Stu and I she was dying. She even told me she would see her soul mate (her boyfriend had passed away 3 years earlier) and he was at peace.
Our priorities and ways of looking at life changed dramatically at that moment. I no longer feared anything; even death. The worse thing in my life had just happened, I could not prevent it, and NOTHING could hurt me more than that.
My first words to her after her death from a cardiac arrest was: please let me know know if you are up there; give us a sign. The next day there were 2 bunny rabbits(her nickname) across the street; 1 came across to nibble at the shrubs. I had no doubts that Bonnie was giving us a very clear sign. It would not be her last. We learned feathers were a sign of children from above. I now have a bag of feathers.
This past year, the pain has softened. There had been a gaping hole; now it was a bad scar. This year we had a Seder in our home with new friends. There was actually a sense of newness around me that I noticed and relished. I still envied the happy people around us but at least we had our wonderful memories.
Today the waves of pain come without warning but are less intense. My faith makes me feel someone is guiding us towards a New Normal. Sometimes we feel like being alone, not going to a party, or going out and leaving early, We have learned to be kind to ourselves. We are in a very good place here in Maryland and do not feel like anybody is pushing us. We have learned to be honest with ourselves and respect the other person’s moods.
We shall never give up and sink into deep depression; we will persevere, just like Bonnie did and wants us to do. It is a faith I cannot explain but I know is there.
In this time of buds and peace, may we all find a comfortable place.