Category Archives: Nichum Aveilim

Mommy’s Little Girl

My four-year-old daughter loves to play house. Typical of a four-year-old girl, she usually wants to be the mommy. Often when she isn’t even playing she considers herself a mother to her dolls and stuffed animals. She leaves me with instructions for how to care for them while she is in school. So I wasn’t surprised when she started talking about becoming a mother for real, iy”H.

One day she very innocently stated that when she will be a mommy she will have newborns. My son, in typical thirteen-year-old boy talk, told her that when her newborns grow up they will have newborns.

I then explained to my little girl that when that happens, iy”H, she will be a bubby. She all-knowingly agreed with me. In a fit of love, I told her that even when she will be a bubby, iy”H, she will still be my little girl. Again she all-knowingly agreed with me and then responded saying, “And you are still your mommy’s little girl.”

I felt that punch in the stomach. Am I? I want to be. But how can I be? I can’t call my mother anymore for a recipe. I can’t kvetch to her about my messy kitchen. And I can’t complain to her about my overload of laundry and errands. We don’t spend yom tovim together, and I don’t tell her about my most recent purchases. I yearn for that status. But sadly it isn’t mine anymore.

And then I remembered….

A few months ago my husband and I had to make a tremendous decision. There were so many negatives and so many positives. I was scared. As we were getting closer to the decision, my fear was escalating. I really wished I had my parents’ guidance.

And then I got it.

I got it by the sudden feeling of my parents’ presence. They arrived at my side. It was a light feeling of something – the sense of their hovering right near me. Something so unreachable but almost touchable.

To those who never experienced such a thing it might be hard to understand. But those that have experienced it don’t need an explanation.

I knew what they were telling me: They were telling me that we were making the right choice. We should continue in the direction we were going in. They would continue to be with us.

It wasn’t the first time I felt it. But in the past it was much more fleeting, almost as if they were in a rush and stopped in for a quick visit. This time it was constant. My parents were with me for a few days straight. It gave me the courage and the confidence to go ahead with what we decided. I knew I had their approval.

This is not the way I would have chosen to continue our relationship. But  I know that in a spiritual way they are here for me. I hope, iy”H, I can be there for my little four-year-old until she is 100.

But to respond to her comment:  “Yes, Esther Malki, I am still my mother’s little girl.”

 

A Simchah Despite The Sorrow

A year and a half ago I made a bar mitzvah. My son was the first grandchild on my side of the family. He was born a year and half after my brother passed away at the young age of fourteen. My son was named after my brother, and my parents felt a measure of comfort then.

They were involved and loving grandparents. Although it was a long-distance relationship, my parents had the gift of knowing how to create strong, loving bonds through the phone wires. My Yecheskil was a tremendous source of nachas to my parents. The simchah they would have felt at his bar mitzvah would surely have been contagious.

So when I had to prepare for his bar mitzvah shortly after my mother’s petirah, I wasn’t sure I would be able to. Of course I had a lot of hakoras hatov to Hashem for giving me such a wonderful son. But the pain of my parents and two siblings [my brother and a sister who passed away] not attending was very overwhelming.

Baruch Hashem, I have a wonderful family who really supported me.  We had a beautiful seudah and a beautiful Shabbos. We spoke about my parents and what they would have said and done. But it was with a fondness that didn’t disrupt the joyous atmosphere.

Three weeks ago I made my second bar mitzvah. I thought the second time around would be easier. But it wasn’t. “What!?” I screamed to my sisters. “I am making a second bar mitzvah without our parents. I’m telling you, they want to be here. People are always saying it’s better up there. They are happier. But I was never there. And I don’t know anyone who is alive today that was ever there. So I just know what I know. And that is that my parents wouldn’t miss this for anything. My father was a family man. He would want to be here to give my son a berachah and revel in nachas from all the grandchildren. He was also a cake man. He would want to sample from each type of delectable that entered the house. My mother is the proudest mother. She was convinced her children were the best. I know she would want to revel in this family simchah.”

My uncle quoted where it is brought down that a neshamah does attend a family simchah. I didn’t want the neshamah. I wanted them physically. I once again embraced all the preparation with gratitude for reaching this milestone. But the sadness at my losses was my constant companion.

Baruch Hashem, we were zoche to a really special bo bayom and a wonderful Shabbos, and I am left with warm and heartfelt memories.

Of course I was very excited to develop my pictures. It only took me about three weeks to get to the store. (Last time it took over a year.) As I sat there going through each picture, a certain pride welled up in me. My children are so cute, k”ah.  I love each one so much.

But then it hit me again. The picture of my parents with my son was missing. They will never be here to enjoy any more family simchahs with us.

It is a pain that never goes away. At times perhaps it diminishes. But there are times when it wells up so intensely. Each time I look at the collage of pictures from the bar mitzvah I will be proud of my family – but I will feel the pain of who is missing.