I woke up pretty early. I actually had a breakfast date with Totty
hen I think back to the day of the wedding, I am amazed each time at the plethora of emotions that comes up. On one hand, I remember the excitement that I woke up with on that day. On the other hand, it was only days before my life came crashing down.
I woke up pretty early. I actually had a breakfast date with Totty. He came in from Eretz Yisrael and hey, what do you know, he called me up and invited me to eat breakfast with him. I actually enjoyed sitting in the bagel store, schmoozing as we munched on bagels. It almost felt normal. My father has that ability to make people feel comfortable. So even though we're almost strangers to each other, that breakfast felt so regular. Like any girl eating with her father.
After that, the day was a whirlwind as Mommy and I went to get our makeup done, and I went to my hair appointment. There were a few last minute errands and my brother Yehudah, who lives in Eretz Yisrael, was here with his three children, making the house even busier. Before we knew it, it was time for pictures.
The night was magical. My brother Yosef was glowing. I had a blast dancing with my other two sisters-in-law.
My friends showed up for the second dance and we made it so leibedig. It was incredible. Then, too soon, the chasunah ended. The chassan and kallah were off.
And as we were gathering our things to leave, my father turned to my mother and said, “You know that cough? It doesn’t sound good. I really think that you should have it checked out.”
The next day Mommy made an appointment.
When the bell rang, I sprinted out of that building and nearly ran all the way home. I burst through the door and ran to Mommy. She was standing at the stove mixing the pot of meatballs. Okay. That was a good sign. She looked at me and gave me a tired smile.
“Mommy, please tell me what the doctor said.”
“He sent me for some tests,” she answered. “I hope to have the results next week.”
“Please, Mommy, tell me more.” I couldn’t stand not knowing. But Mommy insisted that there wasn’t much more to say.
It was a good thing that Yehudah was still at our house. His children were adorable and a great distraction. I badgered him like crazy, trying to find out what he knew about Mommy. He insisted that there was nothing more to say. But when he told me that he was staying until Mommy got the results, the feelings of unease increased.
My brother Avrumie also insisted that there was nothing more to say. So I had no choice but to wait.
The next few days passed in a blur of nerves. There were knots in my stomach and I was extremely unfocused. I was so scared. I couldn’t talk or think about Mommy, except that I couldn’t stop thinking about her.
Of course I visited Bubby. And of course I begged her to please tell me if there was anything she knew that I didn’t. I pleaded with her to tell me that Mommy was fine. But Bubby looked at me and said, “We are worried about Mommy. We are hoping that this is just a scare. But whatever happens, we are in this together. We will support each other, daven together, and grow in our emunah together.”
I walked home not sure if I was feeling better or worse. When I got home, I found Malki sitting on my porch.
“Malki!” I said. “What’s going on? Why are you here?”
“What’s going on with you?” she burst out. “You’re not yourself. Something seems very wrong. Tell me, is everything okay?”
Her eyes shone with concern. I told her how worried I was about my mother. She listened. She didn’t ask any questions. She just gave me a hug and said, “I’m here for you.”
Exactly what I needed to hear.
I came home on that fateful day. I saw Yehudah’s serious face, the pain in my sister-in-law’s eyes, and I knew. I walked into the dining room where Mommy was crying softly into her Tehillim.
I took her hand in mine. I didn’t say a word. I didn’t need to.
To be continued…
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 921)
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