Doug was beautiful, extraordinarily bright, we used to say he was our gift from God. Since we had lost 2 children, for unknown reasons, we were so worried that something would happen to Doug. Although everyone thought I should just be thankful for Doug, I wanted another child so Doug wouldn't be an only child. I also knew we would make him nuts worrying about him. Jeremy was born 27 ½ months after Doug. Doug was perfect, beautiful, the brightest child in his class, etc. I will try not to bad-mouth my ex too much, but Doug was my ex's whole life- he lived vicariously through Doug-it really wasn't healthy, but my ex wasn't healthy- he would have extreme mood swings.
We got divorced in 1984, the boys lived with me, but were with my ex very often- much more than the usual every other weekend. The divorce was real nasty, and we both spoiled the boys during that time (they were about 8 and 5). I remarried in 1987, and my husband, Steve, and I started setting some rules in the house. Doug acted out badly, didn't like having rules, wanted to live a bachelor life with his Dad, and was out of control. Therapy didn't help- he was smarter than the therapist.
I was real angry at my ex, because he did not help when we were having trouble with Doug- we were supposed to work together to help Doug, but he was incapable of doing so. I did what was the most difficult thing in my life- I turned Doug over to his Dad- Doug was 14. I didn't talk to Doug for about a year, Steve and I went to Toughlove. I remember the first time I wrote a birthday card and didn't sign Doug's name- I thought that was the worst I would ever go through. My ex remarried, and I think Doug realized that he had no choice but to shape up.
Slowly things got better. Doug and I developed a relationship again- Steve, Doug, Jeremy and I went on incredible ski trips together, Doug did well in high school. He was so extraordinarily bright- he went to Cornell University and graduated in 3 ½ years. He had a few friends- he would easily grow tired of them- they were not as bright as he was. He did not think most of the students at Cornell were that bright. He was impatient with most people. He was an intense young man, but was also maturing into a responsible young man.
Doug decided to go to law school- both Steve and I are lawyers, but never encouraged him into that field. Doug was on the debating team in 8th grade, won an award in H.S. at a mock Congress in Washington, was an exceptional writer, articulate speaker, analytical, quick thinker, so he made a good choice. After much thought, Doug decided to go to NYU Law School- one of the best. The summer before he started, he was a unit leader at the camp where he had gone as a child- the kids adored him- he had the best summer ever- under his leadership, the boys won the softball championship for the first time. After Doug died, we started a memorial fund and built a ballfield at camp in his memory.
So Doug had a wonderful summer, and then a successful first year at law school. Doug loved NYU, he really thrived. He had friends, did extremely well in his classes, thought the students and professors were really smart. I talked to Doug several times a day- he loved to talk to me, we had gotten really close, we were all so happy. When I would ask him how he was, he said "excellent." He almost went back to camp his first summer after law school (the summer that he died), but got a job at a law firm.
I was happy, I thought that was very responsible- he sent in only one application, and got the job. He liked working there as well, and they even offered him a job for during the school year, and when he graduated. Doug had been living at school during the school year, but during the summer was going to stay at his dad's, my place, but mostly his girlfriend's- until he would move into the apartment Steve and I had in Manhattan- the tenant was moving out in August. Can you imagine- his own Manhattan apartment- Doug was very excited.
Doug had been really close with my parents- I lived around the corner from them when I was in law school, and they watched my children every day when I was at school. My mom died in 1997, and my Dad died suddenly in May, 1999 (a month before Doug died). Doug gave a moving eulogy at my mom's funeral. He helped me at my Dad's apartment when he died, and cleaned up the mess the emergency workers left. He was right there for Jeremy and me, so strong for us at the funerals. I would feel so strong just having my 2 sons beside me.
Doug had been seeing this wonderful girl in his class at law school- they were together about 8 months. We were all so thrilled- he was so happy- Steve and I would take them out to dinner at nice restaurants- they went to Italy in March for a vacation.
Doug spent the weekend before he died with his girlfriend. On the morning of Monday, June 28, 1999, he went to work, and she went to her job clerking for a judge. Apparently his girlfriend had decided to break up with him that summer. She thought it would be easier when they weren't in school. She had tried in the past but he kept talking her out of it- they had different interests. We had no clue that they were having any problems, Doug never told us. We thought they were happy together. She called him at work and said she wanted to meet with him later. He knew she wanted to break up and insisted they meet immediately- they met at her place- he couldn't talk her out of it. He said he had to leave, and spent the afternoon calling her up, still couldn't talk her out of it.
Doug went to my husband's office building in Manhattan- 19th floor, Doug had worked there in past summers. Someone from Steve's office saw Doug in the elevator talking on the cell phone (to his girlfriend). There was a small terrace where people apparently would go to smoke (Doug knew about this- Steve and I didn't know it was there). There was a high rail that had to be climbed over- Doug jumped at about 6 P.M.
At that time, I was in the same building - every Monday, Steve and I would go to the gym in the building, then to therapy together. I might have run into him going up, but had stopped at a bookstore.
Doug was 22 years old.
I would like to share what I said at the unveiling of his monument. In the Jewish religion, about a year after death, the memorial stone is dedicated. I don't think anyone really heard me read this, because I was in tears.
When Douglas was born, we said he was our gift from God. We called him Sir Douglas.
I remember Doug as a little boy playing the drums on his own drum set.
As the star pitcher on his Little League team.
As the narrator at his kindergarten show, when he was the only child in the class who could read.
I remember Doug sitting and holding my mother's hand for hours when she was ill and always reaching into his pocket to give change to a homeless person.
Doug would get excited about the Rangers, and was passionate describing the beauty of a racehorse.
I remember Doug's thrill over owning his first car, a red one, and the first time he drove our Miata.
I remember his graduation from Cornell, we were all so proud. And how he loved Camp Perlman, Doug and his campers adored each other.
I remember the happy Doug thriving at law school.
What an exceptional writer he was. He should be here helping me write this, as he did when my mom and dad died.
Doug was kind enough to play tennis with me.
He was my companion at Broadway shows, and the movies.
We would hang out and watch our favorite TV shows together.
I miss his big smile, and his wonderful hugs, and his "Hi ma", and the flowers he brought me.
I miss his wonderful sense of humor- he once gave me a ten million dollar check as a birthday present.
Our extraordinarily bright child, with such a promising future. Doug had become an admirable young man, a really good person, a mensch.
My heart and soul are filled with love for Douglas, that I will carry with me always. I miss him more than words can possibly describe and I don't understand why this happened. Sadly, I know that I never will
We were blessed with two incredibly special sons.
Hopefully, you will share our future simchas with Jeremy and us
I am told that mending a broken heart is painful and slow. There will always be a large part of me missing and nothing will ever be the same.
Somehow we have to put the pieces of our lives back together as best we can, and go on, but it will take time.
Thanks for reading this.
Written with Love by:
Marcia Gelman Resnick