When I think of the “Wishes” and how they started I do not know where to begin so I will bring you back to the summer of 2005. I had just finished writing my first novel, “Pieces of My Mother,” my journey accepting the sudden death of my mother and father twelve years earlier via an automobile accident. After the death of my parents two very special women came into my life offering me the unconditional love and support I needed to restore my faith and trust in life allowing me to be the mother and wife I wished to be for my family. I questioned if my mother had sent them to me. Barbara Lazaroff was one of those women who became family to me.
As all of us, Barbara had her share of hardships. September of 2005 brought with it some new challenges and Barbara was not anticipating the month to be a good one. She had been such a loving and supportive friend as I wrote my manuscript on top of making my four children feel special. It was my turn to give back to her. As we sat on her back patio that late August afternoon, I pledged to be a non-complaining friend void of all issues and problems the whole month of September. “In fact,” I suggested, “ I will not only be the best listener in the world, I will “wish” you something every night.”
So that is how it started, good listening skills followed by a simple e-mail saying, “good morning” or “good night” depending on how promptly I could get to my computer, with a simple wish , “today, September 1st, 2005, I wish for you, trust” or “compassion, etc.”
However, shortly into the month, life reminded us of how fragile and unforeseen it can be. September 6th, “Katrina” hit the American coast causing unfathomable damage. September 8th my husband’s job confirmed that my family would need to relocate to the Hartford area of Connecticut. And, the early morning of September 11th, I was woken by the phone to the sounds of my sister’s voice telling me to come home, her son, my nephew, Aaron, tragically died at the age of nineteen years old. Again, Barbara became support for me and my family. I continued writing “Wishes” as an outlet during the week I spent with my sister and her family. When returning to Los Angeles September continued on its path of uncertainties. Barbara experienced some unexpected medical troubles along with personal issues to accompany the anticipated problems she faced. Over the month the “Wishes” became personal and profound, documenting the events that unfolded.
At the time, Leeza’s children attended the same school as Barbara’s and mine. I spoke with her only occasionally, but I was always comforted by her true kindness and sincerity. How it came about that I spoke to her on the recess yard and frantically divulged the month’s heartbreaks, I do not know. In my frenzy I also told her about writing Barbara “wishes” and how I was documenting the month in a way I could never have imagined in August. That night Leeza sent me an e-mail, a “Wish” for peace in my life. This was the start of our friendship. Over the next months I found a treasured trust and loyalty in Leeza, a sisterhood, as if we had been friends all our lives.
I stayed in Los Angeles and finished out the school year with the children as my husband dutifully commuted back and forth from the East Coast. Leaving California and the comfort of all my friends was, to say the least, very difficult for me. My nephew’s death, and the painful memories it dug up made me that much more dependent on Barbara and Leeza and my friends for support. I left Los Angeles that summer broken hearted. September, 2006 I wrote wishes once more, but they lacked luster as I struggled to adjust and acclimate four children into a new lifestyle.
Over my first year in Connecticut, I was met with one of the toughest times of my life. Simply, I was miserable. My husband was working hard at a new position and away from the home a lot. The children were off at school and trying to make new friends. I spent much of my time alone, something I had never done before in my life. Although I still spoke to Barbara and Leeza and other friends it was hard to maintain the same level of friendship without the day to day involvement. My life experiences had left me with the fear of loss and I struggled to hold onto my friendships, people I considered family, but that is hard to do with 3000 miles between you. I cannot tell you if I had not lost so many family members unexpectedly, if my friends would have matter so much to me. Life challenges all of us in one way or another and most people need friends to help them through, I certainly did.
It was the first time since my parent’s death, Aaron’s death, that I was alone with my thoughts. I had no choice but to confront the pain in front of me and walk right through it. I had never felt so alone but I am a survivor and yearned for peace and happiness in my life. I began taking peaceful walks and sorting through all my thoughts. As the summer reached an end, I was unsure if I would write “Wishes” but come September 1st I sent one off to Barbara. By September 6th she had recognized that my time alone had offered me insight and she suggested I share them with others. Later in the month I met Leeza in Manhattan while she was there working on a Sheer Cover photo shoot. I mentioned to her that I was writing “Wishes” again. Leeza loved the concept and encouraged me to write beyond September. As time went on, I began writing “Wishes” for all the people in my life. Then, late October while searching through a box that had gotten misplaced in the shuffle, I found a light blue leather pouch that Leeza had given me two years earlier before I moved away from Los Angeles containing a pretty pair of earrings. Embroidered across the pouch read the word “WISH.” It was then we knew it was time to print these wishes.
These “Wishes” are my thoughts that stem from all the love in my life from my husband, children, sisters, friends and from all the love my parents gave me while they were with me. These “Wishes” also stem from all the pain I have endured in my life that has opened my heart to great depth to appreciate that love. They belong to all and confirm that the greatest gift, the most powerful force the universe has to offer us, is that of “human kindness.”
Wishing you love, Tricia LaVoice