Thoughts on a Difficult Week – Attempt to Say Something Useful

Over the past three days, I had several contacts with death: a high school friend, a colleague’s wife, a client’s mother and a Facebook friend’s dad. That is a lot of sadness in only three days. Two died before they reached 50 – way, way too early. Right now, it is hard to focus on anything else beyond these deaths.

Today, I will be attending the funeral of Dr. Jacqueline Proner, the wife of Legislator David Gelfarb. She was 49 and they have three kids. What is more tragic and sad than her passing? I cannot even imagine what David is going through. I hate that it happened. Several people have said to me over the past two days: “It reminds you what’s really important in life.” And that is certainly true.

So what does one take from a week like this? Obviously, it reminds us that life is fleeting and can disappear quickly. We have no idea how long we will be on this earth, so we better make the most of it right now. Are we spending enough time with our loved ones? For many, the answer is probably “no.” We have created a society where we are working longer hours in this roller-coaster economy, and in many families both parents must work full time to pay the bills. Are we dedicating enough of our time to our kids?

And if you really want to get depressed, turn on the television. You see so much sex and violence, mean and crude political dialogue and idiotic reality shows – nothing we can be very proud of. It really makes you wonder where we are going as a society. How do we change this?

I don’t dare claim to have the answers. I know I need to spend more time with my family immediately, because I could get hit by a bus next week. Yesterday, I was catching up on my law work and my wife mentioned it was a nice day and I should go have a baseball catch with my son. I said I was too busy – that was the definitely the wrong answer.

As an elected official, I am frankly shocked by the polarization I see every day. We so-called leaders are supposed to be improving our society, and we are all fighting. Many of our constituents are doing the same. Too many people have moved to the extremes and are only speaking to people they agree with – rather than engage the other side in a respectful and productive way to find common ground. I do try to make a difference in my position, but it is a tough climate. So now I have another thing to work on, which is doing a better job of bringing people together in our county government. All 17 county legislators and the county executive must work harder at communicating and compromising.

So, maybe this week can be a wake-up call to some degree – I know I need to do better and so do you. I am sharing this post on my county legislator blog because I feel like I had to say something useful to my friends and constituents about what I am feeling today.

I cannot stop thinking about the passing of 49 year old Dr. Jacqueline Proner. I chatted with her several times over the past year, and she was engaging, thoughtful and friendly. She had a terrific personality and worked so hard to advance David’s career and her own, and she was so proud to watch our legislative swearing-in ceremony in January. Why God took her, we may never know. Her death is so damn sad and impossible to explain.

But we are all still here. We just don’t know when our number will be up. I suggest we take a lesson from all this death and focus harder on the important things – spending more quality time with family and friends, being nicer and more respectful to each another, publicly opposing hate, and contributing more to make this world a better place.

Jacqueline will not have a chance to do this, but the rest of us do.

Jim Maisano
County Legislator

About Jim Maisano

County Legislator for New Rochelle and Pelham and attorney for litigation, real estate, wills/probate. If you need my help with legal or legislative matters, call me at 914-636-1621 or email me at:
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10 Responses to Thoughts on a Difficult Week – Attempt to Say Something Useful

  1. Sue says:

    Great Post . It is so true and Life is so short. My mother died at 50, so I know you have to enjoy life NOW. Good Luck with the Kids (legislators & CE) They need to be put in a play pen and beat the sh– out of each other then part ways friends. I have to say that will never happen because we have ego’s that were brought up in Yonkers. The Brady years are back but with younger people, and most times Brady never hung his dirty laundry out like Ken does.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. I don’t know of anyone who is not experiencing the stark realization that life is short. I too have experienced a weird week with the death of a dear relative, a newly diagnosed illness for my 24 yr old niece who has been plagued with a comprimised immune system since she’s 11 yrs. old., and the hospitalization of a friend with what we think is a stroke. We are living in a society where many relatives are not helping relatives in need; neighbors in apartment buildings do not inquire how ailing neighbors are doing; they don’t even ask a person who is living alone and ill or elderly if he or she needs a quart of milk etc.
    Many people care more for their animals than they do for humans. Where is our humanity??? We need to recapture morals, family values, character, and every thing that has made this country great. Thanks for the great work you do in helping us achieve these goals.

    Janie Petrizzo

  3. john saraceno says:

    You have eloquently put into perspective the core of our personal, community and national problems. This is one message that should go viral instead of the garbage that normally goes that way..
    John Saraceno

  4. Richard Grayson says:

    Jim–Thanks for writing what I think about often.
    Richard Grayson

  5. C.A. De Cosa Jr. says:

    Hi Jim!
    GREAT article! We’ve suffered deaths recently also….but I must add that the West.Co. Police and the Yonkers P.D. did a superb job of escorting and traffic control during the funeral.
    Everything you noted is in our faces every day–the polarization is the worst I’ve ever seen–and I can readily recall the Viet-Nam era war and civil rights protests, some that were quite violent….and those pale in comparison to the anger and hopelessness we suffer today. I really fear for this nation–and I don’t see either major political party having serious answers.
    So–I guess the best thing to do is as you suggest….enjoy our lives and families as best as we can because we have no idea what the next day will bring.
    Thanks Jim, stay well!

  6. Maria Chiulli says:

    I can’t agree with you more. Children grow up too fast so you can never spend enough time with them. We never spend the right amount of time with family and friends. However, we can always try to do more. Not to sound morbid, but, I live every day like it is my last day. My husband jokes that I make him tired. I never sit still!
    I’m sorry for your loss. Now go play catch with your son!

  7. Paul says:

    Go have that catch.
    Semper Fi

  8. Iris says:

    Thanks for putting into words what is difficult to express.
    All we can do is savor the feel of life when we have it and enjoy the fond memories when it is lost.
    Thanks for your thoughtfulness. Iris

  9. Iris says:

    Thank you for your efforts to express the difficult. All any of us can do is celebrate life. As we have it, let’s savor the feel of it. When we loss it let’s remember the fond memories left behind.
    Thanks again for sharing.

  10. Debbie Nigro says:

    Dear Jim, That was a very thoughtful piece of writing and I thank you for sharing it today. I am very sorry for all your loss this week and the sad loss to all those you mentioned. Very Tough Stuff. I have felt similar hard pangs of loss and know it’s suffocating effect on one’s soul. I am kindred in the kind of wake-up call you took the time to write about here that we all need to acknowledge. We should all go out and play ball as often as we can. Best, Debbie Nigro – New Rochelle Resident

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