Balancing Bad News and A Good Day

The day after a family Hanukkah party Dec. 21, we had plans to take two of the grands to a puppet show  based on Eric Carle’s picture book, The Hungry Caterpillar and other stories. We needed to allow time to travel to pick them up from school and then get to the theater.

And then the phone rang. It was our daughter, calling quite early given the time change between NJ and CA. And the bad news. A neighbor of ours and father of one of her closest friends, had had a heart attack after  being caught in an avalanche while skiing in France.  He was with his  three younger children.  Two elder children, a son and daughter from a previous marriage, were supposed to be convening in San Diego for the holidays and Jessica, our daughter’s friend, was home alone. Could we do something for her?

Sadly, we couldn’t. We couldn’t change the tickets or disappoint the grands by cancelling the outing.  I wished I could be in two places at once. Jess was heading to France that afternoon. They were keeping her dad on life support so she and her brother could say good-bye.

By Tuesday, we learned her father had died.

One minute here; another one gone. 58 years old. My age. Caught in an act of nature; engaged in a sport he loved.


The children loved the performance, their first live theater experience. Our grand-daughter spent a bit of time switching where she’d sit and pushing down the pop-up seats. It was artistic and magical; after the show the performers showed the audience how they manipulated the puppets.

RIP, Craig Schiffer. I wish I had known you better. My heart aches for your family.

Happy 2015 everyone. Every day is precious.


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24 Responses to Balancing Bad News and A Good Day

  1. Life is one big balancing act. A friend of my daughter’s died over the Xmas holidays his first year at Cornell, his skis hit some ice and he slid into a tree in Utah. At his funeral everyone said he died doing what he loved, which didn’t give me much comfort.


  2. So sorry to hear about the tragic news. May he rest in peace.

    Glad you have the nachas and good times with your grandchildren. That’s so special how you count your blessings!


  3. Lisa,

    What horrific news! I am so sorry to hear about this tragedy, this is a life changing event affecting so many lives . I am so sorry for this new horror and wish strength to your family.

    Love, Ronnie

    My new email address Please update your address book.



  4. susanissima says:

    Oh, sometimes it really does rain down hard! Each moment is precious and we often have to choose with whom to share our love right then. Grandchildren and children are always a priority. We just never know if this time will be the last. Love as hard as the hardest rain…it’s all we can do. Hugs for you, Lisa. ❤


  5. Thanks, Susan. Love the imagery with the rain. Poetic.


  6. A beautiful thoughtful post, Lisa. So sorry for the loss of a friend and father. Nothing like tragedy to make us understand the fleetingness of life and appreciate every small joy.


  7. Thanks for jolting me out of my funk and reminding me how precious every day is. So sorry for all those who remain and loved Craig. ❤
    Diana xo


  8. It is a jolt. Guess we all need them now and then but that doesn’t diminish our every day issues and challenges. xoxo


  9. jmgoyder says:

    Oh I am so sorry.


  10. And in a moment, life can change. Many years ago, when my younger brother had just graduated from college, a friend celebrated his new freedom by climbing Mont Blanc in France. He never got to go out and get that job, find that girl, or have a family. He was killed in an avalanche. What a sad time. My condolences.


  11. Yet, you can’t live in constant fear either. Thanks.


  12. Meira is a beautiful “Hungry Caterpiller”. We can’t choose the days for bad news and good days. Life is a juxtaposition of both. We hope for more good days.


  13. Such a tragic loss for Craig’s family and friends. Unfortunately some of what should be our happiest and brightest days, are sometimes clouded by bad news. I’m so glad that your grandchildren enjoyed the puppet show. The photo is so cute. 🙂


  14. Pingback: Time For #Hanukkah Hoopla 2015! | renée a. schuls-jacobson

  15. Thanks for sharing Jessica’s work; I read several posts. Such a tragic loss for all involved!

    Glad you got to enjoy some quality time with the grans. It sounds lovely. xo


  16. bwsummers says:

    Thanks for sharing your story. I work as a Personal Historian and I have many friends and colleagues who tell me how they wish they had recorded stories or memoirs of loved ones who died too suddenly. I try to encourage everyone to take a few minutes to record stories of loved ones. I use a digital voice recorder, but many people also have a voice recording app on their smart phones. Life can be too short and everyone has a story to share.


  17. hugmamma says:

    My youngest sister-in-law, 50 years old, has multiple myeloma and amyloidosis. Both involve an overproduction of amyloid protein cells. She’s undergoing chemotherapy, her second treatment is tomorrow. She may have a stem cell transplant at the Mayo Clinic. AL is rare and incurable. I’m helping blog her journey, especially so her 11 brothers and sisters can find out what she’s up to without everybody calling asking the same questions countless times. Pat is trying to make every day count…in the time she has left. Life…


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