“Strong” is so overused that it’s too trite to give people a real understanding of who she is and what she has gone through
My sister-in-law, Rena
Made Her Day
A Mishpacha reader, as a zechus for a refuah sheleimah for a beloved student, Esther Baila bas Rivka Yenta
Rena, my sister-in-law, is a beautiful young mother of four kids, one of whom has special needs.
Lockdown meant losing most services for her child, working from home, and having to keep the family entertained. All that would have been bearable, as she’s an amazingly loving mother, but she’s had to deal with something that drove her to her physical, mental, and emotional limit: her husband’s multiple addictions.
He was forced to leave their home during lockdown to find better grounds to battle his demons. Rena needed to take full control of their finances (since he wasn’t capable of being trusted), tend to the children (who only knew that Daddy was away on business), try to salvage their crumbling marriage, be supportive of the man who continuously betrayed her trust, and still attend work.
As I said, Rena is a private person. So private that she attempted to carry all her weighty problems on her very narrow shoulders. It was a while before she reached out to family to unburden. By that time, she had lost a considerable amount of weight (and this is a woman who’s always stick thin!). She wasn’t sleeping, she clearly wasn’t eating — but she was smiling for the kids’ sake.
I would love to give her a day for herself, a day with no phones ringing, no children pulling at her, and no one expecting her to be their rock. A day of rest and relaxation is what she more than deserves before she heads back into the daily fray.
If possible, I’d love for my mother-in-law to join her because she was there, at her daughter’s side, as soon as she learned the truth of what was happening. She slept over many nights, prepared dinners, and listened to her pain. We all stepped in in some way, but it was my mother-in-law who propped up Rena as only a mother can.
—Her proud sister-in-law, Sari
Rena has a lot on her shoulders — and we’re awed by the grace and strength with which she carries her heavy burden. We hope that some time in Ocean Place Resort & Spa with her mother will give her a brief oasis of tranquility and relief.
Wow! I really don’t know how to describe Rena. “Strong” is so overused that it’s too trite to give people a real understanding of who she is and what she has gone through.
To watch her and the children be left alone for Shabbosim and Yamim Tovim with the hope that the loneliness will eventually be worth it is painful. To watch her try to be everything to her children while she has no one to take care of her own needs is hurtful to witness. To watch her smile and smile and laugh for the world when bills are piling up, when she’s afraid her children will be judged for choices they never even made, when the days become weeks and then months with little hope… She isn’t only strong. She’s so much more.
Who she is in private, how she gets through the doubt-filled night, we truly don’t know. We do know there’s pain and grief and fear. We do know there’s worry and hurt. But the person we see is the most beautiful of mothers; every step she takes is clearly for the sake of her children. And that’s what we find so inspiring. We’re so thrilled that she’s won this prize. We hope she sees it for what it is: a token of all we wish we could give her, an expression of how proud we are of her.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 760)
Oops! We could not locate your form.