Sunday, March 31, 2013

Ronald L. Berman, 69, gone from view, but remembered forever / Poem: Resurrection

Rabbi Saul Grife of Beth Tikvah-Bnai Jeshurun in Erdenheim, PA, conducted a beautiful service.

People always act their best at funerals. Why can't we all behave this way year-round?

The one and only Heather Pastor Moran, Ron's niece, who drove up from her home in Maryland with husband Sean, and sons Ben and Jonah.

All the men and boys wore kippahs or yarmulkes. I think women should wear them too. It would probly be vetoed b/c of our hairdos.

It's always a shock to see a person's casket.

This is one bed we'll never escape.   

Here's Ron's daughter/law Evangeline, who came with her own daughter, Elaine (Lani) who brought two toy ponies to occupy her during the service.

Evangeline told me that she recently brought in Ron's mail, which included my Compass, mental health magnet, and letter. Darn! He never saw it. 

Amy Pastor, Heather's sister, and residing in Colorado, is now an EMT and will study to become an RN.

Amy has her own Wiki page since she was a TV star on the handyman show Trading Spaces.

Denis Hazam, featured in the pages of our Compass mag, runs a Bipolar and Depression Support Group at the University of Pennsylvania. I talk to him frequently on the phone but haven't seen him or wife Fran in a dog's age. (Just made up that term, altho maybe it's a real term, b/c I didn't wanna write "in ages" b/c it's a cliche.

Always cheerful Mark A. Davis also runs an LGBT support group Pink and Blues downtown at the Church of St Luke and the Epiphany.

Mark - aka Ms. Altered States - is someone who should have his own Wiki page!

Fran Hazam, polymath and mental health advocate extraordinaire, works at the Mental Health Association of Southeast PA, as does husband Denis. She was also featured in the recent Compass.

On the way home from the funeral, I drove past Abington Friends School, which is where my daughter Sarah met Heather. Heather's late mother, Barbara, taught there. Laughing, good-humored Barbara has been gone for five years now, said Rabbi Saul.

While the Rabbi was conducting the service, I was revising my poem, which I began at midnight, and then revised when I woke up at 5 and then at 9 am.

Be sure to read comments below!


In memory of Ronald L. Berman (1944-March 29, 2013)

As the full moon rose over the dogwood across the street
I thought of you, Ron, and the moons you will never see
Or the first bird twittering at five outside my window

I remember meeting you for the first time
Was it in the lobby at Reach-Out?
Or at buzz-me-in Friends Hospital?

Your blue-checked shirt barely concealed your half-arm
What happened? I asked, staring at the shiny stump
round as a child’s fist

Car crash, you said, and I watched as you employed it as the
small arm it was
refusing to let it cripple you, or embarrass you

You must have typed all those emails one-handed, a regular pianist playing
Ravel’s Piano Concerto for Left Hand, commissioned by a ravaged soldier
Emails I will never chuckle over again
“Humor in a Mundane World,
Hello All You Lovelies,”
and signed with your pen name

Contrarian, how you chastised me when I called you Ronnie, in front
of those pretentious condescending bigwigs from the DBSA in the
downtown Marriott, how dare I treat you gently?

You’d like this tribute, I do it for myself and Heather and the Hazams, Mark Davis and the rest – Jo from your support group -
We admire your noncomplaining heroism in the face of bloody
Agincourts you fought alone

You and that feline of yours, Arthur, your soul companion, who walked across your keyboard and erased your words
Before the universe erased you from sight.
Where are you now, Ron Berman, champion of the Mental Health Consumer Club?   
Do Jews like us get resurrected?

Is it an accident you’re buried on Easter Sunday?
Or is it all pretend, like this too-short life of ours
Gone in a wink!

I, for one, will remember you the rest of my days
And so, you’ll be surprised, will all your
followers, filling this now-sacred chapel in
your home-town of Philadelphia.


  1. Fran Hazam writes:

    Your poem was so on miy mind as Denis and I entered St Mary's church for the Easter Service.

    Because we were late the only seats were the first pew ! There we were greeted by the great voices of the choir singing Alleluias accompanied by the great organ and french horn next to us with the fragrance of spring flowers enveloping our bodies.

    The stark contrast of death and resurrection was overpowering ! I wish you all could have experienced the transformation.

    I will be sharing your poem with our friends and members of the wider circle who may not have been lucky enough to have known Ron !

    Happy April 1.

    I hope the bird in the dogwood this morning was a brightly colored robin red breast loudly singing a spring song for early risers like you.

    1. Fran, April 1 is especially a great day since my new grandson was born this morning at 9:25 a.m.

      Max Atticus Deming!