This is the Schneider-Farris Family's Blog. Keep up with what we are doing by logging into this site regularly! (The reason this site is called "Tragedy and Triumph" is that when I first founded this site, my husband, Dan, had been in a horrible accident, and he recovered. His recovery was a miracle! Go back to the 2005 archives to read our story.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rosh Hashanah Reflections 2011

Every year, my family goes to the mountains to celebrate Rosh Hashanah and then we go to a park in Colorado Springs to throw bread in the water with our friends. This year's celebration was even more special since my dad joined us!

Fifteen years ago was the first time we went to this service. This year, more than ever, I realized how much Jews are connected to one another. I knew so many of the people that attended, and saw people that I met 15 years ago!

At the Tashlich service at the park, I felt that connection again. Rabbi Glazer welcomed and hugged each person that attended as they arrived. People took the time to say hello and wish one another a happy new year. My kids love this part of Rosh Hashanah!

I also remembered the first Rosh Hashanah Dan and I spent in Colorado Springs. We went to an evening service at Temple Shalom. I remember looking around and wondering if Dan and I would fit into the Jewish community in Colorado Springs. It's obvious, after living here for 20 years, that we do!

This morning, I did some thinking about what brings Jewish people together for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. It's the sense of being family. That's IT! Being able to think about G-d and rejoice on Rosh Hashanah connects Jews all over the world. Today, being outside and with family made my connection to G-d so very special.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Remembering Friday, September 16, 2005 - 6 years ago - I Thought It Was Just a Typical Day

Today, on Friday, September 16, 2011, I can't help but remember how my family's life changed forever on Friday, September 16, 2005.

Remembering is a bit painful, but writing down some of my thoughts and memories is also helping me remember all the things that my family should be thankful for.

I need to write about those things today...

The photo in this blog post shows Rebekah, Jo Ann, Annabelle, Dan, and Joel, with my parents in October of 2005 shortly after Dan woke up from a coma and was near death. Wow...we've come a long way since then.

Below are some excerpts from our famly's blog, Tragedy and Triumph, which is a journal I began to tell our story. Eventually, I decided to keep the blog going and made it our family's news blog. Six years of blogging has created quite a story in fact!

  • Read Tragedy and Triumph - By JO ANN Schneider Farris (Note: It's a blog, so the oldest entries begin at the end...)

We waved good-bye just before 7:00 AM

Just a little before 7:00 AM on Friday, September 16, 2005, my children and I waved good-bye to my husband, Dan.

It was a typical morning: we had packed the car for a busy day with skates and ballet clothes. Dan had packed lunches for the children. As we drove away from our house, I realized I forgot a folder that contained some scheduling information I needed for the day; Dan helped me conclude I could get by without the information for the day. We sipped coffee as we drove. (Dan made coffee every morning.)

When we reached the parking lot of the Colorado Springs World Arena, we said our good-byes to Dan, and he headed towards the bus stop near the World Arena that would bring a bus to pick him up at 7:08 AM and take him downtown. I remember telling him not to worry about helping us get into the rink on time like he usually did. I knew we were running a bit late and I didn't want him to miss his bus.

Nothing seemed unusual, but I knew Dan was tired. It had been a busy week. I'd gone to Denver with the children on Wednesday of that week for my children to have lessons with my brother, Billy. We'd left the house at 6:00 AM on that day and on Thursday morning, we'd also been up early. He'd got the oil changed in the car and he'd even mowed the lawn on one evening and put weed killer in the backyard. He'd taken my son to hockey evaluations and we'd been busy with our children performing in a stage production of CATS !

Yes, our life was full: it was directed by the children's activities and on Saturday, 9-10-05, we had spent some time alone together between CATS performances and had walked around downtown Colorado Springs holding hands and talking about our lives and our children. We had gone out to dinner together at a Japanese restaurant. We knew we were really busy!

Anyway, that Friday did not seem all that different. My son, Joel, was determined to skate by himself on an early morning freestyle, so we had been up since a little after 5:00 AM to prepare so we could make the 7:25 AM Freestyle session.

What a wonderful father Dan was, I thought, to be patient enough to wake up early every day for me and my children!

Just a Typical Day - Friday, September 16, 2005

Friday, September 16, 2005 turned out to be a wonderful day for me and the children. We left the World Arena and went on to Chapel Hills. I told the children how proud I was that they had worked so hard on the freestyle session at the World Arena.

We worked hard at Chapel Hills and I then taught one class at 11:00 AM.

Our friend, Hellene Anderson, took the three children to The Ballet Society for ballet classes and I met them there.

I decided that it would be good to take the children to see the Colorado Springs Invitational Competition for the afternoon and we headed towards Sertich Ice Center.

The children enjoyed the competition, and especially enjoyed playing with certain skating friends that were watching the competition. My brother, Billy, was with some students at the competition, so we stayed and watched his skaters and some others.

The skaters were really good. The kids learned a lot and we were so impressed when the National Novice Ladies Champion, Rachael Flatt, landed at triple Lutz!

I bought the girls skating dresses that were selling on consignment and as it got to be close to 4:30 PM, we said good-bye to my brother.

Little did we know that at about that same time, my husband had fallen off a bridge and was near death.

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Jo Ann Schneider Farris has participated in skating for most of her life as a competitor, coach, and author.