A Few Words on Barbara Harmon by Our Executive Director
Written by | Hal Eisenberg
Bravery, Guts, Class… First impressions can be so powerful and leave an imprint on you that can last a lifetime. Not only did my Aunt Barbara encompass these traits, but also as the years unfurled I realized that bravery, guts, and class are adjectives that do not do justice in describing the incredible woman I felt blessed to call my Aunt. Words cannot describe, nor explain the type of person my aunt was and what she has meant to our family and me. No matter what was going on in my life – good, bad… or insane, I knew I could always count on her. Even if it was quick call on our cell phones, she always made me smile.
In a generation where the term “family” can be difficult to define, Aunt Barbara taught me the meaning of it, the importance of fighting for it, and the beauty of appreciating it.
I often turn to music and songs for inspiration. There’s a line in a Celine Dion song that states: “With a little faith, love can move mountains.” That line, that song, truly captures my aunt’s spirit. She never gave up, always stayed strong, and put 100% of her heart into everything. I always thought my life was crazy and hectic, but after one conversation with Aunt Barbara I felt better because there was someone out there that was doing more than me. I don’t think she ever stopped. Truth be told, I look up to my Aunt with the highest respect and try to model myself after her.
I have so many memories of my Aunt, but there are two quick stories I would love to share. The last time I was with my Aunt, she came to see my band at the time, Outlet, play. It was the first time she was able to see the band perform. When I saw her show up while I was on stage, I was ecstatic! My aunt stayed until the end of the show and helped me pack up the equipment. I always cherished that moment because the gig was an outdoor picnic at Alley Pond Park in Queens, New York and we got all the equipment into my car except this huge green garbage pail that I had to get home or else! Here we are, my aunt and I standing in the middle of a parking lot, trying any which way to shove this pail into the car. The visual was comical, and after we finally got the pail in, we sat there like two little kids laughing hysterically. It’s so strange to think and realize that was our last moment together.
On September 11, 2001, I was on the phone with my Aunt when the second plane flew into the World Trade Center. I knew she was scared, but I was amazed at how her poise and character stood tall during and throughout this tragedy. I remember all the fear of that day, including the thought of losing my Aunt prematurely. It was a thought that was scary and came along with feelings I did not want to deal with. It renewed and strengthened our relationship and I was thrilled and thankful that I did not lose her. I never knew I would have to face the fear of losing my aunt again, and this time for real, only 14 months later.
I will cherish every moment we shared together, though there were too few of them and how I wish I could have so many more.
Bravery……Guts……Class……Faith……Hero……Love……Life……Friend……..Aunt……Sister …….Godmother……Daughter. My Aunt Barbara was all this… and so much more.
I will miss you Aunt Barbara and I thank you for teaching me that I can make a difference, for empowering me to follow this dream of creating Windows of Opportunity and for giving me so much more than you will ever know.