Steven: my son, partner, mentor, and friend.

Steven: my son, partner, mentor, and friend.

Stan Waisbrod


It was 10pm on Friday 16 June 1995. Jodi, our daughter was shaking my shoulder. (Two years previously my sleep was also pleasantly disturbed at 3am by her and her husband-to-be, Ivan, to tell us that they were engaged to be married, and they were seeking our blessing to the union.... at 3am!) What a pleasure!

Steven (26) and Della had been "going steady" for six years - She had recently qualified as an attorney-at-law; He had just received a substantial raise at the stock-broking firm at which he was employed. My wife Kathy and I had for months playfully hinted to Steven that it was possibly time to "settle down" and produce some grandchildren.

Being a long (holiday) week-end, Steven and Della were on a short vacation at Mount Grace, a resort not far away. Steven had called to say that he and Della had finally committed to each other and they were to be married. They duly arrived and after much kissing, congratulations, and embracing they told us how they had visited Della's parents (for their blessing) and then we discussed the forthcoming wedding. They asked Jodi to be part of the wedding retinue. The wedding was planned for early in 1996. They left at 11.30pm to return to Mount Grace.

At 2am a loud knocking on the front door woke us and a chaplain from the hospital service sympathetically informed us that Steven had been killed in a motor accident. A vehicle driven in the wrong direction (on a freeway!) had collided head-on with Steven's vehicle. The other driver had also been killed, but thank G-d Della had survived with minor injuries. The accident had occurred 5 minutes after they had left our house that evening.

The shock was both devastating and numbing. Kathy began hyperventilating and kept on repeating "Not my Steven ... NOT MY STEVY!". I fell to the floor thinking "G-d how could You do THIS?" I was angry with Him. My father(80) suffers from Parkinson's, is incontinent; my mother(74) had recently attempted suicide. Why not take one of THEM?

We had four children .. now three - Mark(25), Jodi(24) and Glen(22), and Steven(26). In the Jewish faith a first-born son belongs to G-d and there is a short ceremony, soon after birth, where he is redeemed from G-d by his father. I remember it, and his barmitvah, as if it were yesterday. Such joy and pride!

He was head-prefect at both primary school and high school; always 1st in class; he loved school so much. I remember him saying, in his farewell speech to his high school, ...if you ever find a lost soul wandering around the corridors of this school, it will be me ... looking for the good times and good people that I have enjoyed so much...

He was more then a son to me.

He was my business partner - in two companies that we operated. He controlled the computers at the businesses. (After much searching for a password into the system, I eventually discovered it to be "DELLA") I would not make ANY business decision without consulting him; and I would usually take his advice!

He was my religious mentor. He had been shammas (one who assists the congregation with religious matters during services) at our synagogue since 1982. We often had religious discussions as one would have with a rabbi - him teaching me!

He was my friend. When the children were much younger I taught the boys fishing on family holidays at the coast. For the last few years I had been trying to arrange a fishing trip with all of them. We finally managed to get it organised for May 1995. Which father can go fishing with three adult sons and enjoy the pleasure of their company as if we were all very close friends?

He was patriarch to our family. Kathy's loving mother died 22 years ago. Her father(82) and my parents have, as a result of difficult circumstances in their lives, never been emotionally close to their children or grandchildren. Because of this vacuum, Steven was in many ways becoming guide and mentor to his parents and siblings.

He was my SON. He had his mother's kindness, good manners, loyalty, compassion, and her caring and giving nature; his father's thirst for knowledge and understanding, attention to detail, logical mind, diy hands and sense of humour. He could communicate with anyone - no matter what their rank or station. He had time and energy for anyone who approached him; from giving math lessons to his mother's best friend's 11-year-old son to helping his father with a computer problem.

He passing has left enormous holes in the fabric of our lives.

Since his passing I have learned that according to the Talmud - 40 days before a child is born - it is written as to how long he will live; the physical and mental attributes and capabilities that he will have - all this is decided 40 days before a person is born. What is not written is whether that person will be good or evil; kind or unkind; honest or dishonest; hard-working or lazy; law-abiding or law- breaking; etc. G-d gives US the power to make these choices. The person himself decides HOW to live his life.

Steven loved Life, Della, his family and friends; he gave of himself above and beyond what would normally be expected of one so young; and was mature for his years. We have gathered this from the hundreds of letters received since his passing. He touched so many lives.

It is four months since his death. My anger with G-d was at first replaced with questions - all starting with "Why...". For me these questions can now only be answered by Faith.

Faith in G-d and his wisdom.

Faith that his soul will find eternal peace and rest in the comfort of G-d's arms, in the shadow of His wings.

Faith that his soul will be with the souls of family who went before him, all together, and knowing each other.

Faith that He will give us strength; and comfort us in our sorrow; and in time wipe the tears from our faces.

Faith that He has for us many things to do here on earth; and that we will carry out these tasks with Love for Him.

Faith that when our time comes we will once again be with our beloved son, Steven.

I weep often -
for the happiness and sadness we shared
for the pain in his mother, siblings and Della
for the grandchildren not to be
for the hopes and dreams we had for him
for the future without him.

Stan Waisbrod

If you wish to write Stan you can find him at: [email protected]
mail welcome

email updated 5-17-08

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Crisis, Grief, and Healing: Tom Golden LCSW