“With Your Face To The Wind”

I was sitting on my couch this evening listening to one of many ipod playlists when this song came on and once again it brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes…

Over a year and a half ago I went to a Peter Paul and Mary concert… while I was there Peter Yarrow sang a song I had never heard before. He said he wrote it for a woman who was battling cancer. I tuned in immediately with my Aunt Helen in mind. The song moved me so much tears came to my eyes as he began to sing: “With your face to the wind… I see you smiling again… spirits moving within… I know that you’re going to win…”

Once I heard it, I knew I wanted to share it with her. So I did, and sent it along with a note and package. Now I share it with all of you who miss her so much… hoping it gives you a little comfort as it does for me. Although, true that it makes me cry a little, but it also makes me smile, because every time I listen to it, it makes me think about how privileged I am to have not only known Helen Haddad, but I was part of her family and she kept us all connected. She was a gift we were all given… and I know she is still smiling down on us.

(Harriet’s Song)
Peter Yarrow

With your face to the wind, I see you smilin’ again
Spirit’s movin’ within, I know that you’re gonna win

You’ve been down this road before
Somethin’ inside tells you what’s in store
Gotta remember what we’re all here for
Ya gotta eat up the apple and spit out the core


You can get angry, you can curse
You can shout it out in rhyme or verse
And you can tell me that it’s never been worse
Then take that old sows ear and turn it into a purse


There are gifts that come like the rain
They make the plants grow, they drench you all the same
And there are gifts that took you years to see
Like the gift of the friend that you’ve been to me

Yes there are hands here to comfort you
And if you need there are tears to cry with you too
And there are hearts that will sing with you
And voices to cheer when you’ve finally made it through


Sometimes it takes the dark to let us see the light
You can’t have that victory unless you’ve fought the fight
Sometimes it takes a winding road to lead us home
While you’re windin’ ’round my friend just don’t go windin’ ’round alone


*If you are looking to listen to the song. It is on the Peter, Paul, and Mary album entitled: “Flowers and Stones.” It goes by “With your face to the wind”


Ann Marie Walks for the Cure


This was from a sponsor thank you letter we received from our cousin, (Helen’s niece) Ann Marie, who raised thousands of dollars for breast cancer research during the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer 3-day walk. I asked her if it would be okay if I posted it to my mom’s website and Ann Marie said she would honored to have it posted here:


Ann Maire Minze

On October 12-14, 2007, I took an amazing journey and walked 60 miles over the course of three days for breast cancer research and patient support programs in the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Breast Cancer 3-day. I signed up for the walk in honor of my Aunt Helen, who had battled breast cancer for 10 years. I walked for her and for all women who have fought this battle with the same strength of mind, body, and soul it takes to go through breast cancer. I signed up not realizing what a great effect this walk would have on my life.

Twenty miles a day… and I was ready! We walked through neighborhoods with pink ribbons on their fences. There were people and their children out on their lawns every day and through every neighborhood, cheering us on. Women, men, and children on the side of the road showing their support with home made signs that said “Let’s go walkers” and “Thank you for walking.” Some had signs that told their stories of survival. Others had signs in memoriam of those they have lost to breast cancer. Some were women and men who were going through chemotherapy, thanking every single one of the 2,500 walkers for walking for them. In addition to all the people who were along the route daily, there were also “cheering stations,” which were almost a quarter of a mile long of people surrounding us like we were celebrities, cheering us on and slapping our hands, telling us to keep going with their home made signs, candy, tissues, support, encouragement, and stories.

Over the three-day walk, we had an incredible safety crew inspiring us to keep walking by dancing and singing with us while crossing us at intersections, and cheering us up and down those many, many hills we had to endure. They stayed with us through the last day. With my body telling me I could take no more, I kept walking, knowing that I was walking for those who couldn’t… like my Aunt Helen. At the closing ceremonies, I learned that the 3-day I was involved in, in Atlanta, Georgia, raised $6.6 million dollars for breast cancer research and patient support programs!

My Aunt Helen passed away on October 17, 2007, just days after I completed the Walk for the Cure. The experience had such a powerful impact on me, I have vowed to be involved in the Breast Cancer 3-day every year, in her name, hoping to one day live in a world without breast cancer because “Everyone deserves a lifetime.”


More pictures of Ann’s journey
at the 3-day event can be seen on This Photo Page.

Looking and Listening for My Mom

Today it has been two months since I’ve seen my Mom. Never in my life have I gone this long without seeing or speaking to her. In fact, I’m sure I’ve never gone two weeks without her. I don’t know when it starts to get easier but I do know it’s not yet and since Thanksgiving I think it’s actually gotten harder. I suppose that’s not unusual for the holidays to be more difficult.

What surprises me the most is that I feel like I’m looking for her and somehow surprised when she’s not there. She wasn’t at our family Thanksgiving, she wasn’t at the baby shower for her first great grandchild and worst of all she not in my room at night when I call for her. She’s not even at the cemetery.

I do understand death and the finality of it but my heart doesn’t seem to get it. I find myself saying almost daily “how can this be, how can she be gone.” I feel like a little kid who doesn’t understand death, I say out loud to her “Mom, where are you?”

I’ve been expecting her, she told me she’d come to me, she promised. I make deals with her. I tell her, I known you can’t just appear but if I close my eyes and put out my hand let me feel your hand. I loved to hold her hand, so delicate and soft. I wait patiently… Nothing!

About a week ago I stayed in bed much too long on a Saturday morning wanting my Mom. I hadn’t done a bit of Christmas shopping or even put up my tree. When I finally came out of my room I saw boxes of Christmas decoration the family had dug out over a week ago. My first reaction was Bah Humbug, I don’t even want to have Christmas this year, not with out my Mom.

I did however want my Mom to have a tree, so I went out, bought a tree and took it to the cemetery. I stayed longer than I’m sure Mom would have wanted me to. Before I left the cemetery I asked her if she like the tree. I heard in my head “yes, now go home and put up your own tree.” Was that me??? It was my voice, but it sure wasn’t something I felt like doing. But just in case it was Mom, I thought I better get home and put up the tree.

On the way home it occurred to me that Mom might not like what I wrote on the card attached to the tree. I wrote; I don’t know how to do Christmas without you.

A few days later I talked to my dear friend Nancy, who lost both her parents. Like me, Nancy was with her Mom when she passed. I told Nancy about what I heard in my head at the cemetery and she insisted that was my Mom. I wanted to believe her, so I did. But still, it was my voice.

I told my Dad and my sister Mimi, and I’m sure like me they’d like to believe it too… but still, it was my voice. We all want to hear her voice, so very desperately want to hear her beautiful voice.

The night before last I was up alone watching a movie, not talking to myself at all, just half heartily watching a movie, when I was interrupted by a voice in my head, loud and clear! What I heard wouldn’t have made any sense expect for a conversation that was happing on the screen. It startled me and I rewound the movie to hear what they said. I don’t care if you believe me or not, my Mom answers a question that was asked by a character in that movie! I was so happy I cried and laughed… it was my Mom I know it was.

Sorry, I’m not going to tell you what it was. But I’ll tell you this, I heard it again as I began to wake the next morning. The same answer, but it felt like it was to a different question.

Today I saw Nancy again, and I told her about it. I told her this time I’m sure it was my Mom. I told her I wish it were my Mom’s voice, I want to hear her voice. And Nancy, bless her beautiful heart, said “Lenore your Mom speaks through you not to you. She has no physical being any longer, no body to see or touch and no voice to hear.” She also said something to the effect that she’s not in a form we can understand and for now this is her way to reach us.

As I think about my Mom’s words and what Nancy said today, on this the second month anniversary of her death, I know now for sure I found her, she’s here and she told me something very important…

How about this, I’ll tell you Mom’s answer but not the question. The question doesn’t matter, because what she said answers so many questions for me.

The answer is “It never ends.”

I know this is true… Mom said so.

Mom’s Message to Us

The prayer card Mom chose.Well, tomorrow it will be a month since Mom left us. I was feeling pretty sad this morning and happened to come across the prayer card Mom picked out when she was making advance arrangements. While she didn’t write the poem, I’m told that she changed it a little bit to her liking. I read the card today and remembered that these were the words she wanted us to read when we were grieving. I thought I would post it here for anyone who hasn’t read it or might want to read it again:

To Those I Love & Those Who Love Me

When I am gone, release me, let me go
I have so many things to see and do.
You mustn’t tie yourself to me with tears.
Be happy that we had so many years.

I gave you my love. You can only guess
How much you gave me in happiness.
I thank you for the love you each have shown,
But now it’s time I traveled alone.

So grieve a while for me if grieve you must
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It’s only for a while that we must part.
So bless the memories with your heart.

I won’t be far away, for life goes on
So if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can’t see or touch me, I’ll be near
And if you listen with your heart, you’ll hear
All of my love around you soft and clear.

And then, when you must come this way alone,
I’ll greet you with a smile, and “Welcome Home.”


I’m always remembering now, bits of advice that Mom has given me over the years. This one pops into my head a lot lately: At one difficult point in my life, I was talking to my Mom on the telephone and she asked how I was doing. I told her I was doing okay, except that I would get very weepy and down when I listened to one particular song on the stereo. My mom gave me these simple instructions: “Don’t listen to that song anymore.”
Problem solved, I guess! She wasn’t being unsympathetic; just optimistic and practical. It makes me smile every time I think of it. It reminds me of that joke “Doctor, it hurts when I do this…”


Poem from Henry Jr.

This is an email I sent to Mom in January 06 when I heard Mom’s cancer had come back.


I have been trying to make you a card all night but I’m just too inept to get it completed and sent as a card.

Words cannot express my love for you but a poem, I don’t know the author, from the movie “Patch Adams” w/ Robin Williams almost comes close. Maybe I mentioned it to you before:

” I love you,
I love you without knowing how or why or from where,
I love you without pride or complexities,
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
So close that when you close your eyes I go to sleep . . . ”

Please God let her be ok!

henry (jr.)

Matt’s Eulogy for Mom

~ This is the eulogy Matt read at Helen’s funeral. ~

What a great life my mom had. A life full of love. A God honoring life. She grew up with parents and brothers who loved her and she loved them. And her marriage to my dad was an example of what God had in mind when he created marriage. Aunt Dotty described mom & dad’s marriage as a marriage made in heaven. I think that is exactly what it was. God put my mom and dad together. They had the kind of relationship and love for each other that people write novels about. To grow up in a home with parents who adore each other was a wonderful thing. My mom and dad never stopped holding hands, kissing each other, or telling each other they loved them. In these last few months when Mary and I would pray with mom, her first words to God were usually words of thanks to God for giving her my dad. It was a marriage full of love. It was a God honoring marriage.

My mom and dad had six of us kids, with the fifth kid born while the oldest was still 4 years old, and Patty was not too far behind. But even with all those babies, Mom was able to let each of us know we were totally loved. We each did not get 1/6 of Mom’s love. We each got 100 % of Mom’s love. And even with mom giving all that love to her six kids, she continued to give Dad all her love. I had the greatest childhood a kid have. I have the greatest mom a kid could have.

When we started adding to this big family of ours with spouses, grandkids, and even spouses of grandkids, my mom continued to fill our hearts and lives with her love. Mom loved Wanda, Mary, Scott and Gary like her own kids. And Mom adored her grandkids, and I’m sure Derek and Angela felt the same love we all did. I think my mom’s friends would tell you they also shared in her love. The wonderful thing about all this is I know that Mom knew we all loved her too.

Mom was more then just a person to love and a person to be loved by. My mom was a child of God. A woman of God. When I was getting ready for my first communion my mom told me how close to God she felt at the time she first took communion. She said she felt God’s love so much, that He was so real, that if she died then (as a 7 year old), that it would be okay because she knew she would be with God. So in a sense I think my mom has been ready for heaven for the last 68 years. God knew he was going to have Mom with Him for all eternity so He allowed us all to be blessed and loved by her for 75 years. Mom used those 75 years to honor God.

For those of you that might wonder if this living for eternity thing is real, ask yourself this. Don’t you still feel mom loves you? Mom did not stop loving us on October 17, 2007. Mom still loves us. I feel just as loved by mom right now as I did as a child, and as I did a month ago. And I still love her. That is because Mom is alive. She is absolutely alive. She is in Heaven with God. A God who loves her more than we can know. There are a lot of things we don’t know about heaven, but I know it is wonderful. And now I have one more reason to get there. Heaven is where my mom is.

I know we all loved my mom and we would do anything for her. So what would she ask us to do now? I think the two things mom would tell us to do is first to love and take care of each other. And the second and more important thing she would tell us to do is to “get to heaven”. So let’s do that. Let’s love and take care of each other, just like mom did for us. And while I know we can’t just decide to follow mom to heaven, God told us how to get there. He told us to follow his son Jesus, and Jesus will take us there. So let’s get to heaven. Let’s get to where mom is, where God is. And just as God told this beloved follower of Jesus, this mom of mine, we will not be disappointed with paradise.

I love you mom. And I will see you again in Heaven.

Lenore’s Eulogy for Mom

~This is the eulogy that Lenore read at Helen’s funeral~

I have five brothers and sisters and any one of us could speak endlessly about how much we love our parents, but Thursday night as the family talked about who would come up here and talk today… my name never came up. My dad said who can do it without breaking down. I said to myself, or so I thought, I can’t… and I believe I heard a collective, “we know.”

I’m sure at this moment they are all worried that I’ll fall apart and say exactly what I’m feeling which is “I want you all to go away and for this not to be happening.”

But that wouldn’t be nice so I’m not going to say it…. You all can stay.

When I considered what I should tell you about my Mom, it occurred to me that the most important thing about her you already know… and that is how she made you feel.

The most telling thing about a person is how they make the people around them feel. And we all know it felt great to be around her. You knew she loved you… it was a gift she gave you with her voice her touch, her whole heart and soul and you got it ever time you were in her presence.

For the past year and a half I’ve closed my office on Thursdays to “take care of my Mom.” At least that’s what I told my clients… how could they be upset with me for not being available if I was taking care of my Mom. But what it said on my calendar for Thursdays was “Mom-Day,” with little stars by it. I never came up here to take care of her, I came to be with her. Just to be with her. It didn’t matter that in time we couldn’t go shopping or go out to lunch. I got to sit on the couch all day, and eventually on the bed, on hold her hand and have her all to myself. I was the lucky recipient of her gift, as would be the next person to visit her.

Recently Mimi and I started driving up together to visit Mom. After a few months Mimi said, “maybe I should just see Mom on my own, I feel like I’m honing in on your time with her.” And while we’d have a lot of fun together I know Mimi wanted Mom to herself too. Patty was less subtle, if you stayed with Mom more than a few minutes after she got there she’d say” okay, now your running into my time and that’s my spot your sitting in.”

We couldn’t get enough of her gift. And what’s hard to believe is that it never diminished. Ever time you saw her, when she’d first catch your eye, she’d smile and greet in such a loving way, like she was surprised to see you. This is the greeting you got whether you’d seen her the day before or if it had been weeks since you’d seen her.

I know you’ve all experienced this too; it’s why you’re here. She loved you and you knew it. That feeling will never leave us. And neither will she.

I want to share something she said to me in her last days, when I wasn’t even sure she knew I was there.

She said, “You look sad Lenore” and a moment later “don’t cry, it’ll be nice.”

I love you like crazy Mom.

Mimi’s Eulogy for Mom

~This is the eulogy that I read at my mother’s funeral Monday.~

My mom was a creature of kindness, beauty and grace. How lucky a girl am I, to have a mother like this? When we were growing up, she never took us out for “a spa day.” No manicures or pedicures. But she took us places she thought no little girl should miss: to the ocean, to the ballet, the theater. To weekend concerts at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. I really don’t think it was about wanting to raise “proper little ladies.” She wanted to share her love of beautiful things with us.

She was a scholar, an avid reader, a news junkie. An information sponge. She was well-read and well-informed, a sparkling conversationalist … add to that, a good listener. If you met her at a party, and struck up a conversation with my mom … Well, you hit the jackpot. You were bound to have a wonderful evening because she was a delight to talk to. She was smart, unpretentious and fun. Her intellect made her a fascinating, interesting person to talk to. Her kindness and humility made her a pleasure to be around. I was so proud to introduce her as my mom.

She had a sincere interest in and affection for other people.  She had many friends. I know they adored her and the feeling was mutual. Her capacity for love was limitless, it seems to me. She never had anything but nice things to say about anyone. And she meant it. My mom was not capable of phoniness. She saw the best in everyone and it was genuine. Over and over again, I hear from her friends, that it was an honor to know her. I believe them.

If I had to pick out just one word to describe my mother; it would have to be “Luminescent.” Her smile really did “light up the room.” She wasn’t a joke-teller, but she exuded happiness. She and my Dad infused our family with laughter. In our family, laughter surrounds everything. Even in the most unexpected circumstances. It made me feel so wonderful last Friday night, to hear laughing and lively conversation at the viewing. I thought to myself “this is just how my Mom would have wanted it. It would make her happy to see this.”

I saw a big red truck on the 60 freeway that night. It had a giant bottle of Bacardi on the side and the caption read “Live like you mean it.” I thought to myself “You don’t need Bacardi to live like you mean it. Well, … I’ll have whatever my Mom was drinking, because SHE really lived like she meant it.” She savored every person and moment in her life as a gift from God. And she fought for every last minute of her life with courage and grace.

A Poem by Thomas

This is a poem grandson Thomas, wrote for Helen before she passed away. He had hoped to read it at the funeral or wake.

A Gladiator’s Heart

This is about a lady that loved everyone
No matter what, she fought with all her
Heart and soul, and never backed
Down for anyone. She always knew how
To brighten up a person’s day if they
Were feeling down. They would walk into
Her room, she would smile and the hurt
Would go away and that smile would last
Forever, never fade and always keep your
Spirits up. She had the warmest hugs and the
Best Kisses, better than anyone could give.

Thomas and Nana

Living A Life of Love

How blessed I feel to have known a person like Helen Haddad. As she reaches the end of her long struggle, I look back and remember the life of love she has lead. She has loved her God, her Husband, her Children, her Grandchildren, her Family, and her Friends.

She has spent many hours in prayer with her prayer group and her Church. Showing her devotion and caring by asking God to protect those in need as well as those she loves.

She has also loved her art. Editing, critiquing, and writing brought her great joy. Helping Henry edit his seminar presentations, critiquing works for her writing groups, and pouring her heart into the writing of “Picture of Guilt”. Helen was on cloud nine when her labor of love was published and she won the Eppie award. We all shared her joy at the awards “Picture of Guilt” received and none of us were surprised at how tirelessly she worked to promote it.

I remember how much she loved to shop. Every Tuesday to Ross for senior discount day. Chico’s was her favorite. How we would laugh with her when she got such a great deal on an item of clothing using her discount coupons. And the fashion shows, we always enjoyed giving her our opinions on which outfit she should wear for whatever event. I called her the catalog queen. Thank goodness for HSN.

Helen and Henry seeing the world together also brought her a love of traveling. By airplane, car, cruise ship, or train. Alone, with Henry or with family. Across the oceans or across the states. For work or play. Helen was always ready to go. If you wanted to watch Helen light up just mention Pechanga, her favorite local destination. No matter where she traveled, she always brought us back a gift memento.

When Helen got sick, her love for life kept her going. Never once did you hear a negative, only positive. As long as she could go, she went. When she was feeling ill, she would look at it as a moment in time to be worked through so she could continue living life. She controlled her illness, it did not control her.

When it came time to leave her beautiful home in La Habra Heights, she embraced it with gusto. Searching for just the right place to spend the rest of her life, she found her haven in her present location. Comfy, cozy, decorated just the way she wanted and a balcony overlooking the fairway of the neighboring golf course. Helen talked of the peace and comfort she felt living there.

Nothing has brought her greater love than Henry and her Children. She has great pride is each one of them. You could see that each time she spoke of them. Her granchildren are also a source of pride. When we last spoke, she was very excited about the great-grandchild on the way.

When Helen passes on to be with God, I am absolutely sure He will welcome her with open arms. In Heaven she will find a continuing life of love where she will enjoy reuniting with those who have passed on before her and watching over all of us that remain on this earth living with her loving memory.

Thank you for giving us a forum to express our Love for Helen.

God Bless all of you.


Jan Marie