Stories: Who We Have Lost

A Quaint Little Room

Story aboutCollective Loss

Saturday in Astoria, Queens I finally met many people I have “known” since losing my husband Martin. I heard many powerful and emotional stories of great love and insurmountable loss. Poignant stories filled with precious memories of people who were taken way too soon by this pandemic. We came together to share our stories, to cry, to laugh, to smile, to listen and be heard, and to grieve the tremendous and collective loss that we all share. In Astoria, Queens on a rainy Saturday afternoon there was a quaint little room filled with so much love and admiration.


Story aboutMichael Mantell

Our family used to always say if you wanted to find Mike Mantell drive to Barnes and Noble. The man spent more time looking and buying books than he should have been working around the house. So it was so fitting that his story would be read at a book signing in Queens, New York.

Mike was born in Queens but then moved to Long Island. The book reading was the funeral I never was able to have. The wake where people talk about the life of the deceased and share memories of Mike. Again something that I was not allowed to have due to Covid. It was sad, I cried, but it also gave me great peace that Mike was recognized especially by people who understand. What a fitting tribute to Mike, to his life. Martha, there are not enough thank you’s that I can say to you.

He taught me grief is love

Story aboutBrad Shroyer

My dad and I didn’t have to say anything … we could read each other’s thoughts.

“Always say what you need to say, because you never know what can happen” he told me as a young teen.
So, I always did.

“Break the chain” he would tell me when I didn’t like the way my life was headed.
So I would.

“Where’s the love?” He would ask when family would argue.
He reminded us to love first.

He didn’t teach me about God, he modeled a God loving man.

Him and his brother laughed until tears rolled! They mumbled stories through the laughter no one else could understand.
They taught me connection.

He turned wood into art pieces.
He taught me creative thinking.

“You know you can always talk to me.”
He taught me trust.

“Dad, how do I look?” I asked him the morning of my first day at the new job.
“Smile.” He told me
So I did.
“You look beautiful.”
He taught me that I am beautiful. Me.

“God created 100 ways to breathe.” He stated after he regained his breath.
He taught me that a strong mind and will can keep you alive, even when your body is failing from Covid.

“Mandy, you know God is the answer to everything.” He told me from the hospital.
“I know, Dad.”

“Mandy, am I dying?” He asked me after the nurse had expressed concern.
“Yes, dad. You are.”
He taught me honesty is love.

“See you in heaven.” He told me in his sign language.
He taught me we are not in control.

“I love you daddy,” I told him as he took his last breaths. “It’s okay to go.”
My dad left his body.
He taught me grief is love.

I still hear him. I know he is with me at times.
He taught me intuition.

So Heart broken…

Story aboutHusband Ron

Both my husband and I were very sick with Covid 2 days before Christmas Eve 2020. We both were taken to the hospital January 1st 2021. I stayed for 9 days, my husband stayed 2 1/2 months until he passed away 3/9/21.

We were together since we were 15 years old–high school sweethearts. I can’t stand living without him … I’m just existing. To this day, I still can’t believe he’s gone. So awful this disease came into our lives. So Heart Broken …

Book Launch & Reading

Story aboutfriend/neighbor Jody Settle

Today was the NY Book Launch & Reading at a lovely venue called Q.E.D. in Astoria, Queens. A group of us came from Washington Heights to support our friend/neighbor Ed as he read aloud his “Who We Lost” chapter of wonderful memories in celebration of his husband Jody. For some of the authors in this community it was the first time they’d met one another in person rather than on a Zoom screen. I feel blessed to have been there to watch those hugs, and to have been a part of the event. Thank you. I am going to set aside time to read each and every one of your chapters. You, and your loved ones, aren’t forgotten.

Share Your Story