Wednesday, June 30, 2021



Life goes on, despite tears and disappointments life continues.  We can sit mired in sadness or we can choose to live our best lives. For anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one, a life-altering illness, the breakup of a relationship, or the betrayal of a friend, LIFE GOES ON.

In my own life, I recently suffered the passing of a loved one.  As I experienced the shock, pain and cries of “how do I cope”, I realized that she loved me as much as I love her — and she would not want me to “stop living”. I need to honor her memory and the love between two sisters. For ourselves and for those around us that we care about, we need to choose life in the best way possible. It is okay to carry our memories, and even shed a tear now and then, but life goes on.

Make the most of the time YOU have left to honor the memories and to care for those still around you. If someone you love has passed on and your heart feels broken, know that they would not want you to waste what is left of your life or to ignore other loved ones around you. You might even want AND need to double your love for the other members of your family who have also suffered the loss. You can never replace the loss but being with other members of your family is good for all of you.

If you have ever dabbled with Tarot Cards, you might have noticed the Five of Cups. The card depicts a figure that is wearing a black cloak. The person hides her face in what seems to be despair. There are five cups on the ground, three of which have fallen while the other two remain standing. The woman, however, doesn’t seem to notice that there are two standing cups and is too busy mourning over those which are fallen. There is a powerful river which flows between her and a house or a castle in the distance, indicating that a torrent of emotions have separated her from home.

Always remember your loved ones who have passed before you, keeping their memories alive will keep them from dying a “second death" by being forgotten. In Judaism we say a prayer for the deceased that is called Yizkor:

May Gd remember the soul of my (mention her Hebrew name and that of her mother) who has gone to her [supernal] world, because I will - without obligating myself with a vow - donate charity for her sake. In this merit, may her soul be bound up in the bond of life with the souls of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, and with the other righteous men and women who are in Gan Eden; and let us say, Amen.


Honor those you have lost by living the best way you can — love others, do good for others (including strangers) with charity and empathy, and most importantly, love yourself. Never lose sight of what you have had... and still have.



Wednesday, June 23, 2021



By the time you are reading this, I will most probably be on my way to my sweet sister’s funeral. When you lose someone that you have always felt so close to, it is not easy.


My sister Bobi was my first and forever friend and losing her feels like I have lost a part of myself. As kids she was my protector, a childhood friend called her “the cool big sister” — even as adults she was always trying to make things “easy” for me. We’re not kids anymore… we both have adult children. Bobi was also blessed with grandchildren and her very first great-grandchild.


My big sister (who always tried to tell folks that she was the younger sister!) helped me through some dark periods in my life, so often she knew the right thing to say and when to say it. Alright, there were times I balked at things she said, but most times her words rang true. Since our folks died before I was blessed with children, my sister was the one I called when I needed advice, and maybe that’s why she always seemed to take a big interest in my offspring’s welfare because in a small way she helped raise them.


We cried together when we lost our parents and other loved ones. And boy did we ever laugh together… not always at the most appropriate times. We had squabbles like most sisters do, but we never stayed angry at each other for long. Talking to each other almost daily was like sustenance to us and our husbands tore their hair out back when long distance calls cost per minute.


As a writer her support was immeasurable which is why I feel a bit frustrated that somehow, I can’t find the right words to express the hole I feel now that she is “gone”. Fortunately, our parents raised us with a bit of belief in an afterlife that surrounds our earth-bound selves and I sure as heck hope that is so and that I can always feel her presence in my life. We were five-and-a-half years apart in age but we may as well have been twins, we always seemed to be so connected. I remember the day when my daughter, in a petty mother-daughter disagreement, heard my sister comment on it and my daughter exclaimed, “There’s TWO of them!”… and now there is just me.


They say that losing a sibling is a different kind of grief. You lose someone who has known you all, or almost all, of your life. If your parents are already deceased, losing a sibling means losing another vital part of your “elementary family” and takes away a piece of your childhood. Your childhood memories are now only thoughts in your own mind, there’s no more sharing of childhood secrets and adventures. Burying a sibling is also burying a hunk of your life.


I am going to choose to remember all of the good times, maybe pick up a long-ago abandoned diary and record those memories that we shared. I will do my best to speak of her to her children and future generations for as long as I am here. And when I close my eyes I hope to picture her in my mind and hear her voice when I am lonely. I will always look up and tell her how much I love her.

Barbara Cordero Du-Bois

September 5, 1948 – June 20, 2021



Wednesday, June 16, 2021


When you enter a relationship, or even just are born into a family, you have a responsibility to care for yourself as well as the people you care about. Yep, that is one of the more important things in any relationship… don’t scare the you-know-what out of those people who love you if you can do ANYTHING to avoid it.


Illness happens, and so do accidents, but when you ignore common sense or act recklessly you are literally betraying the trust that the person(s) who love you have. We are not possessions but when hearts are involved there is a very fragile surface that easily bruises. If you have ever worried about a loved one recovering from severe illness or sat in a hospital waiting room until a surgery is (successfully) completed, I am sure you understand what I mean.


While there are never any real guarantees, things like proper nutrition, avoidance of illicit drugs and excessive alcohol, not smoking, getting sufficient rest, and not taking unnecessary risks while driving or other activities, will help to minimize the chances of your loved one(s) pain and tears because of you. As I already said, sometimes illness does happen — well then follow doctor’s orders and keep things under control, or even better, get cured. And while there are other drivers on the road and sometimes no matter how careful you are there’s a bump or worse, so wear your seatbelt, make sure your car is road-ready, and stay attentive. Always cut the risk down.


Worrying about someone can also play havoc with your own health, but it is hard NOT to worry when someone you love is hurt or ill. Learn ways to relax and not to “worry yourself sick” — yeah, that is a real thing. Learn to focus on the things in front of you, things that you can manage and not let your imagination go places it should not. Being so stressed over things you can’t control will only be made worse by not taking proper care of yourself like forgetting to eat properly, not getting enough sleep, or using crutches like alcohol or drugs. Practice slow deep breathing to help relax your body and your muscles; if necessary, literally “go to a happy place” in your mind, imagine being on that beach or mountain top where you once felt so at peace.


Taking care of yourself when you are worried about someone else is also a responsibility, prevent yourself from getting sick. When your heart feels like it is beating too fast for your own body, your palms feel sweaty, or you begin crying without warning, then perhaps you are suffering from anxiety. In addition to meditation and deep breathing, you can try taking a walk or working out in the gym. Aromatherapy scents such as lavender, chamomile, and sandalwood have been thought to help the mind’s receptors and help to ease some of that anxiety. Writing your thoughts down can also help, looking at the thoughts that are making you anxious might help you realize what is real and what is only imagined, or exaggerated, and may even help you make a plan that will help you feel calmer.


If your anxiety seems out of control and if you really feel paralyzed, unable to function anywhere near normal, or even start contemplating dying, speaking to a licensed therapist would probably help. Don’t allow yourself to drown in panic, guilt, or fear. A professional can help you identify triggers, help you to learn calming methods, or perhaps prescribing anti-anxiety meds, could help. If you need help, get help and take care of yourself.


Wednesday, June 9, 2021


Several years ago I was confronted by a (distant) relative who had very honorably served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.  Without taking any merit from him, in his position, he saw NO action. His complaint however was that his service was “REAL" when compared to the pride I took in several members of my family who were 1st Responders, both volunteer and career. I haven't spoken with him since.

Just this week I read a Facebook spat where two men were disputing local leadership decisions. One man backed up his claims with actual township ordinances, the other man's only claim to his opinion was “and where did you serve?”

I have enormous respect for all of the men and women who have served in our country's Armed Forces… both my Dad and my Father-in-law were wounded WW2 vets, and I take pride in multiple members of my family who are currently serving in different branches of our military. I know of many who did not give time in the military, some by personal choice and some that could not for various reasons such as health.

In addition to the appreciation I feel towards our military, I CANNOT refute the value, heroism and sacrifices made by our 1st Responders in protecting our homeland. How can you possibly discount the important contributions made by our firefighters, EMS, and police, both paid and volunteer, in incidents like 9/11, the Covid pandemic, and a slew of devastating natural disasters in recent years?

When my Dad built his after-military life, he joined NYC's Civilian Defense for Operation Alert during a time when Americans feared nuclear war.  Years later the Civilian Defense was taken over by the NYC Police Department and the organization was renamed the Auxiliary Police. My Dad continued volunteering and attained the rank of Auxiliary before his premature death in 1977. He was honored by the Jewish War Veterans of America in 1974 for both his military service and his continued commitment to his community. Even though he served in multiple wartime campaigns, he still felt he had the responsibility to help his community.

Our parents instilled a strong commitment to community in both my sister and me as well. My sister became a Candy-Striper at the local hospital. Even my disabled Mom joined a community watch group and later volunteered to type mailing labels for an animal shelter. I joined the Auxiliary Police and served in my Dad's unit. By the way,  that is where I met my husband; he has also dedicated much of his life to community service from the Auxiliary Police, to EMS, to disaster medical response wherever needed. And we raised our offspring to give of themselves. Today they and their spouses are career members of multiple 1st response agencies; they have saved lives, property, and have protected our communities and nation.

So while I am damn proud of my family and friends who have served in the military, I also have great respect and gratitude for everyone who serves to protect, strengthen and better our communities and country from within.


Wednesday, June 2, 2021

War Stories

With Memorial Day just behind us, I couldn't help but remember sitting and listening to both my Dad and my Father-in-law telling AND RETELLING their favorite WW2 war stories. Although they certainly avoided some of the gorier and distressing points, they were always excited to brag about their heroics and laugh about exploits they shared with their comrades-in-arms.


It's not just soldiers who boast about their adventures and take pride in their experiences.  I am very proud to be a part of a first response family… heck, I spent nearly three decades as an EMT myself. While my husband and I  are now the “old, retired folk", our four kids (two born in and two joined by love) are all in various forms of first response.


Being seated around us in a restaurant or such must be surrealistic as invariably one of us starts off a story with “remember that time when…”. And of course we can't completely contain our laughter when we recall some of the funnier incidents. Of course we are all still bound by privacy laws so no personal information ever gets out there.


Of course it's not just military or emergency responders who do a  bit of bragging, lol. Within our family we've been regaled with stories of courtroom drama that could rival the best episodes of “Bull". We've also been treated to the literal ups and downs of elevator repair and so much more. Tales of our exploits, the people we've encountered, and the things we have done make us who we are.


Everybody wants the opportunity to know that something they have done has made a positive difference in someone's life. Boasting may not be considered a virtue, but it is just being human to pat yourself on the back a bit and want to share with those around you.


So the next time you hear someone's stories of their exploits, take a moment to listen.