“Stories like Mr. Joseph’s suggests we are a lot better than we think we are and we need to lean into that.” Micki McElya, professor of history at the University of Connecticut. Author of The Politics of Mourning: Death and Honor in Arlington National Cemetery.
“Hearing Barry’s story I got goosebumps. I can not imagine losing my mother and not having the ability to exert control over what the end of her life looked like. That is something to grieve as well.” Marisa Renee Lee, writer, speaker and entrepreneur. Author of Grief is Love: Living with Loss. (@MarisaReneeLee)
Good Grief – “My voice had been a bridge for him.” (listen to the podcast)
With the first wave of COVID-19 surging, an iPad became Barry Joseph’s lifeline for communicating with his dad, Paul Joseph, in the hospital. Guided by the poems of Billy Collins, Barry stayed by his dad’s side – virtually – until it was time to let go…
The Sullivan County Democrat (link)
On the plane down to Savannah (where I sit sipping lime-orange lemonade in flimsy clothing writing this), I started in on a book I have been meaning to get to for some time, NYC and Sullivan-County writer Barry Joseph’s very moving “Friday is Tomorrow Or The Dayenu Year” (FridayisTomorrow.com). Joseph’s book is a kind of modern-day “Journal of the Plague Year,” an early, post-pandemic attempt by an engaged family-man and VP of Digital to parse out the implications of Covid.
The book begins very movingly with a riveting recollection of the Covid-induced death of Joseph’s beloved father and the funeral and shiva period Joseph arranges over FB and Zoom. The book then proceeds to describe the development of new forms of human communication and community that the pandemic has already spawned. Admittedly, we are still early on in the ‘post-pandemic’ period. We may not even have passed through all of it, yet.
But the book (available on Amazon) is compulsively readable and will generate a lot of questions and answers about where we have come from in the past two years, and where we are going. Get it and start planning to travel!
The Forward: “I lost my dad to COVID. Opening up to a stranger helped me heal.” (link)
Shortly after his father died in 2020, Barry Joseph signed up to participate in an oral history project about pandemic life in New York City. For nearly a year, Joseph shared every detail of his life through daily diaries and occasional Zoom calls, one of 190 participants in the project. And then he turned his contributions into a book, “Friday is Tomorrow, or The Dayenu Year.” “I hoped it would be viewed as an invitation to the reader,” he writes, “to take the time and space needed to consider and better understand their own story.”
FROM AMAZON READERS
Friday is Tomorrow starts off with a powerful recounting of author Barry Joseph’s loss of his father in the early days of the COVID pandemic. It’s told in heartfelt terms, and also with a lot of detail about the challenges and frustration in trying to take care of a family member while the hospitals were overwhelmed with the first wave of COVID. The journal/oral history format works very well here; the author doesn’t tell you how to feel about the story, but provides a lot of detail and color that gives a realistic picture of what it’s like day to day.
That theme of adjusting to new realities during the pandemic continues throughout the book. Many of us today have kind of blocked out the COVID era, writing it off as a lost year or two and preferring not to dwell on the frustrations and sacrifices we made. This story reminded me how we felt at various stages. What’s the etiquette at a restaurant once masks became mandatory? How does your life change in a hundred ways when you can’t go within 6 feet of another person? How did we adjust to different ways of keeping contact with loved ones? I recalled the early confusion of whether COVID would change our lives permanently, the frustration at the government response, the excitement and anticipation when vaccines first became available.
Some of my favorite parts were when the author talks about how his approach to life evolved during the period, becoming more willing to take risks on starting a new consulting business and buying a second home. We all changed in various ways from having the fundamental assumption of safety questioned and shaken. The story gave me a new appreciation for the normalcy we’re returning to now, and not to take it for granted.
Friday is Tomorrow, or The Dayenu Year, is author Barry Joseph’s recounting of the first year of the pandemic. It is a story of loss and gain, sadness and happiness, connection through separation, and most of all of resilience. We meet Barry and his family, and although we don’t know them, we feel as if we do. By the end of the book, we expect to be included at the next Supper Club, share a future Seder, or perhaps be invited to spend a weekend at the second home in the Catskills. The book brings back memories of the pandemic that for our own protection our mind allowed us to forget: washing packages received from Amazon, the frantic search for a vaccine, remote school and then more remote school, cancelled summer camps, loneliness and fear. It also shows how we can help pull each other through hard times. His family’s story is my story too, and elements of it will be your story as well. The book ends in May 2021. Omicron might suggest there will be a sequel. We all pray this is not book one of a trilogy! Well done Barry. And Noemi, Akiva, Miri and every one else in Barry’s busy life, it is very nice to meet all of you.
So many of us have experienced loss during this pandemic – loss of the life we knew, loss of a loved one. Barry Joseph generously lets the reader into his life and shares his experiences during the Covid pandemic – loss of his father, his job, his daily routines… My dad passed away recently and I could especially relate to what he went through regarding dealing with a loved one in the hospital during Covid. This book reminded me how important it is for all of us to spend time with the people in our lives – our family, friends and community so that we become resilient and move forward together.