A Year Ago Today…
Posted by laurenrantnrave
A year ago at this time, I found out shocking and sad news that a family friend, Jeff Berger, died in a small plane crash. He was on his way to ski with business partners for a few days.
Jeff was a good person who had a great sense of humor. He was a genuinely nice person who I knew for over 25 years. He was my dad’s student at Northwestern University and my brother’s friend.
Jeff took my brother to a party one night and that is where he was introduced to his future wife. Without Jeff, I wouldn’t have my sister-in-law or my niece and nephew. Talk about being full of gratitude, Jeff’s impact was huge and is appreciated every day.
A few weeks ago, one of Jeff’s sister, pinged me on Facebook. His 50th birthday was the next day and there was a tribute page where people were leaving him birthday messages. Today, on the year anniversary of his death, we have this forum to reflect once again. This is one of those moments where I like Facebook. It’s remarkable that it allows a place for people to exchange memories via pictures and words. It’s therapeutic.
Back in April of 2005, Jeff came back to town for a memorial of another family friend, Marty Stoller. Marty was dynamic and always had center stage when he was in the room, so you can imagine our amazement that the Pope died on the same day as he. Marty was the Farrah Fawcett to Michael Jackson. Thankfully, he didn’t know that!
As Jeff dropped me off after the service that was held at a local eatery, I remember how we were so stunned that someone could die at the young age of 49. We thought of the people he left behind.
Who knew that less than 6 years later, Jeff would also die at the same age. Here I am, thinking of his wife and kids, mom, and sisters and all who loved him.
This tragic event propelled action. I no longer thought, “I SHOULD starting writing this blog”. I thought, “I AM writing this blog, today! I dedicated the first post, Blink of an Eye to him last March. I continue to keep my pledge of reconnecting with people through the planning of my camp reunion in June and grade school’s 75th anniversary.
This is a picture of Jeff gnawing on my hand at my brother’s wedding. I love having this image of him as it represents him being playful and vying for my attention. The reality is that he never had to work hard to get anyone’s attention! People LOVED being around him and I am really lucky that I knew him.