Monday, January 23, 2006

Thank You

The kindness of others was on display on so many levels in the past week. The visitors, the food platters, and the letters. The words, the thoughts, the hopes, and the prayers. People flew in and drove from far away. The outpouring was unbelievable. There were people who knew him who all had kind words. A small story about him put such a thrill in my heart. And then there were those that lost someone themselves. A connection with some I barely knew formed instantly. Others came who just knew me to lend support however they thought I could use it. The show of support did more for me than they knew. There were men who showed up for every minyan. A guy who grew up in our house supplied us with food almost everyday. My mother's best friend just sat in the house for many hours just to be used as a buffer whenever my mother was too uncomfortable to speak to people. It can't take away the loss of my father but it did emphasize the greatness of what we still have. I want to express my hakaros hatov to everyone for everything. And a special thanks to one such far traveler from Detroit who I know reads this.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

HAMAKOM YENACHEM ...

"HAMAKOM YENACHEM ESCHEM BTOCH SHAAR AVILEI ZION V'YERUSHALAYIM"
May Hashem comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim
The words echo in my head. How many times did I hear them this past week.

"HAMAKOM YENACHEM ESCHEM BTOCH SHAAR AVILEI ZION V'YERUSHALAYIM"
We lost him last Sunday. It’s been a whole week. Oh the torment. I don’t know day from night. My back hurts. My mind hurts. My heart hurts.

"HAMAKOM YENACHEM ESCHEM BTOCH SHAAR AVILEI ZION V'YERUSHALAYIM"
I tore kriah for my father. It was a beautiful levaya. What else could be expected for such a beautiful man? We buried my father. We put dirt on top of him and stuck a pole with his name on it so we would know it was him. We changed our shoes to slippers at the cemetery in the snow and the crowd split into two rows. We walked through them as they all recited those blaring words I would hear over and over again for the next week.

"HAMAKOM YENACHEM ESCHEM BTOCH SHAAR AVILEI ZION V'YERUSHALAYIM"
We went back to their house. The house where I grew up. The house where he lived. His tefillin, his clothes, his being all contained within the walls. My dad everywhere you turn except he’s not there.

"HAMAKOM YENACHEM ESCHEM BTOCH SHAAR AVILEI ZION V'YERUSHALAYIM"
There was a sefer torah in our house for a week. Shacharis, mincha, maariv round the clock. Tzedaka was given. Mishnayos will be learnt. A tree was planted for him in Israel as a living reminder of my father. Donations were given in his memory. His neshoma was with us in the house by way of a lasting lit candle. What a kibud for my father.

"HAMAKOM YENACHEM ESCHEM BTOCH SHAAR AVILEI ZION V'YERUSHALAYIM"
My mother and brother filled with so much sadness. His sister sitting in Eretz Yisroel. His mother and brother at the home where he grew up in Philadelphia. Cries around the world for a special man, a unique man. A man of stong belief, dignity, strength, courage, and above all pure joy. Our hearts are torn.

"HAMAKOM YENACHEM ESCHEM BTOCH SHAAR AVILEI ZION V'YERUSHALAYIM"
Family and friends rallied around us. A husband who while keeping me sane also managed my children as I could barely even muster up the strength to speak with them. A grandmother with just a tap on my shoulder. Unbelievable family and friends who traveled from far and wide just to offer whatever they could. Words of encouragement and support. What can they say. They can’t fill they void. They can only offer:

"HAMAKOM YENACHEM ESCHEM BTOCH SHAAR AVILEI ZION V'YERUSHALAYIM"
This morning we got up from shiva. The words were said for the last time. We walked around the block as to escort the neshoma out. How do you escort a neshoma from his home? How do you continue without hearing the words? How do you go on without a father when that’s all you’ve ever known?

"HAMAKOM YENACHEM ESCHEM BTOCH SHAAR AVILEI ZION V'YERUSHALAYIM"
Hashem grants comfort to mourners of Zion and Yerushalayim. He keeps them strong and helps them live on. My father will live on with a reminder of him at the cemetery. He will live on in our hearts. He lives in my children. May his neshoma have an aliya.