Friday, January 6, 2012

Healing begins

Thank you all for caring so much and also for your comments on my tribute to sweet Anthony. The Strauss family needs all the love and support in the world right now, and will continue to as time marches slowly onward. There will always be now two missing places at their dinner table and the reality of that is just heartbreaking. The slow march towards healing though did begin I think yesterday at the funeral, which was an honest, genuine, and thoughtful celebration of Anthony's life. And it was also a very very painful and tearful goodbye. The outpouring of emotion was drenching and much needed. When Anthony's father Doug delivered his touching eulogy, he spoke very passionately and faithfully about his son, a boy in perpetual motion who only had one simple direction in life, full speed ahead, and who created joy, and chaos, wherever he went. Doug singled out each of Anthony's siblings in turn and talked about their individual relationships with their dearly departed brother. The common thread between them all was love, the unshakeable love that bound, and will continue to bind these kids together forever. Knowing how much love fills the Strauss house from within and seeing how much continues to flow in from the outside is a reason for hope and a recipe for eventual healing.

I hope that the immense hurt that so many people are feeling right now, whether they know the Strausses or not, will transform into a renewed compassion for others that when shared, in whatever form, will help make the world a better place. Whether it renews your faith, renews your passion for life, or renews your urge to go squeeze your kids and hang on to them so long that they start looking at you funny, that renewal is a gift that we can receive respectfully and reverently from little Anthony Strauss.

Like his sister Gloria before him, Anthony will have a permanent place in my heart. I will honor them the best way that I know how and that is to keep their memory close and kick life up a few notches. Life is a gift, plain and simple. As I have mentioned before, the great philosopher, Ferris Bueller, once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." So crank it up, and 'Amp' it up. Do it for Anthony, for Gloria, for loved ones past and present, and for yourself. Any ordinary day can become an extraordinary day if you just decide to make it that way.

We are all on this amazing, precious journey together and along with being united through the great joys of our lives we also can be united in sorrow, and that is the only way to get through it, together.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Honoring Anthony Strauss

Tomorrow I'll be attending the funeral of an amazing young man. He was compassionate, creative, and rambunctious, had an electric personality and a megaphone for a voice. He had so much still to give to his family and to the world. His potential was unlimited. Dear Anthony was just 10 years old.

Anthony was not lost to cancer like his older sister Gloria was in 2007, but rather as a result of a freak accident in his home. Five years ago, Gloria's six siblings all had the chance to say their goodbyes to her in the hospital, but not Anthony. Last week he was there at home one second, in ICU the next, and now his family will be laying him to rest tomorrow. Their grief is overwhelming and how can anyone come up with words that can comfort such a tragic, sudden loss, or even comprehend it? I certainly can't.

I love the Strauss family and I loved Anthony. His nickname was "Amps" because he was so darn, wonderfully LOUD. He completely cracked me up. You never knew if he'd show up in army fatigues with a mohawk, or wearing a suit and tie. This young man had style.

Energy? You bet, and Amps was only on his way to breakfast.
My son Miles took these photographs of Anthony's unforgettable entrance to the final camp dance last July.
My daughter Alex is 11 and called Anthony, "my little dancing buddy", from the numerous Camp Goodtimes events that they saw each other at. During the whipped cream fight at the carnival last summer, Alex had the job of filling up kids hands with whipped cream from the sidelines so they could get back in the foray. Alex kept a steady supply going to Anthony and he exclaimed to her, "YOU ARE AWESOME!!" A little later in the fight I went over into the "low impact" zone where kids with  physical limitations could still participate and a young blind camper needed a target. I corralled Anthony and said, "C'mon Amps, take one for the team!" He gladly got down on one knee and offered up his head so that little Julia could experience the joy of obliterating a fellow camper with whipped cream. A lot of kids would have run away, but not Anthony. He understood FUN more than most and I don't think Julia will ever forget that moment.

I won't be able to comprehend that Anthony is really gone until I see the Strauss family all together and notice that gaping hole between Joe and Sam. There is nothing in this world that will ever fill that void.

As it was five years ago with Gloria, and now with Anthony, healing can only be found with honor, remembrance and love.

Please keep Anthony and the rest of Strauss family in your thoughts and prayers...again.

Gloria in 2007

Anthony last summer


For those interested in supporting the Strauss during this time of such tremendous loss, you can visit