Please don’t wrap me in foam and netting like an esrog. I’m not that fragile
Dear Children and Grandchildren,
Daddy/Zaidy’s petirah was so unexpected. We were catapulted into requirements — kevurah, shivah, legalities — across two continents. The immediate and ongoing arrangements were carried out in a fog of sadness. Now, it’s hard to believe that we’ve already passed the shloshim.
At this point we’ve returned to “real life.” I admit that it’s difficult, and I’m a little scared. I feel as if I’ve undergone an amputation without anesthesia; part of me has been ripped away, and the pain is excruciating. Nevertheless, days still dawn, and life, albeit changed, continues. I’m still Mommy/Bubby, and I hope you accept what I’m going to request.
Please don’t wrap me in foam and netting like an esrog. I’m not that fragile. Some bumps and bruises are inevitable in life, and I can handle them.
I’ve always been rather independent, and I don’t intend to change my personality at this late date. When I ask for your opinion or help, I want you to be honest — even if you know I might not like it. The final decisions, however, remain mine to make.
I’m still trying to get my footing. The one comment I’ve heard consistently from friends who have gone through this is that it takes time — a lot of time. Sometimes I get weepy for no seeming reason. Just hold my hand or cry with me. Don’t try to “make it better.” You can’t.
Please do check in with me periodically. I love hearing from you and what’s going on in your lives. Keep me in the loop. Don’t feel that you can’t tell me about sad occurrences if you would have told me about them before, and don’t hold back something funny because it seems irreverent under the circumstances.
We’ve always enjoyed schmoozing together, conversations that ranged far and wide. What a shame it would be to stifle that comfortable give-and-take. I hope we continue to reminisce about the good times. Yes, that can bring on tears, but nevertheless, there’s comfort in the memories.
There are times, however, when I really want to be alone. I might want to cry or scream or just sit and remember. I realize you might feel that this isn’t good for me, but I feel that I occasionally need this solitude. Being alone doesn’t necessarily mean being lonely.
Please let me continue doing those things I always did. I lost my spouse — not my capabilities. I still cook and bake and sew. I still make tasty kugels, can whip up a yummy dessert, hem skirts, and sew rips. Allow me to continue doing these things for you.
If I’m coming to you for Shabbos (or if it will just be a help during a busy, or even not busy, time), please tell me what I can bring or do for you. Being part of “the team” feels so much more normal to me. Inactivity doesn’t suit me.
Boys, please do help with “men jobs.” Be my agent or assist me to sell and burn chometz, buy a lulav and esrog, pay shul dues, and arrange a seat for the Yamim Noraim.
I’m very aware of the many blessings HaKadosh Baruch Hu heaped on Daddy/Zaidy and me. My memories are wonderful. I know that Hashem loves me, and whatever He does is good. My emotions have not yet quite caught up with this knowledge, but I’m working on it. With your continued love and support, we’ll get through this. May Hashem bless you all.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 787)
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