Steven Harris Bergman

Steven Harris Bergman
Sept. 7, 1966 – June 27, 1975
Forever loved and missed

Steven had the sweetest disposition. He was diagnosed at age four with acute lymphocytic leukemia and he lived until he was eight years and nine months. We took him to a barbershop to get his hair all buzzed off when it started falling out in clumps from the chemo, telling him that it was a “football player’s” haircut. We told him he had “tired blood” copying the term from a popular ad slogan at the time. Now, children diagnosed with this disease are in permanent remission and going to college, but not in the 1960s.

Since he was my firstborn, he also gave me the reassurance that I was a totally normal (and assertive) female biologically and I had a natural Lamaze delivery and had rooming in with him at Mt. Sinai in NYC (in 1966) since local hospitals would not permit this at the time. I breastfed him for a total of 20 months, even after it was just a “nip” before naptime and bedtime. I never had a bottle of formula in the house.

Once when he was back at Mt. Sinai in NYC (we were living in New Jersey at the time) after a relapse, he told me that when he grew up he was going to be an architect and build me a house. He asked his Dad to get him a “soldier set” and he would fight metaphorical battles with his tiny metal troops on his bedsheets.

I have an altar in my bedroom with a Christmas card he made for me, “Merry Christmas. I love love love you, Mommy.” On the altar are two almost identical heart lockets he had his Dad pick out as his Mother’s Day gift for me two years in a row, not remembering that he had given me one the previous year. I also have a photo of Steven home from the hospital for Jeff’s 6th birthday in February of 1975, a few months before we lost him. Here is a photo of my altar and also of a picture of Steven holding a flower arrangement sent by a relative in the form of a poodle.

Steven is so “with me” all the time and lives on in my heart and his brother Jeff’s heart. If he were alive, I’m sure that I would be living in a house he designed for me!

Judith Bergman
Steven’s mother