Thursday, October 06, 2005

Letter to a Parent #2

I can truly feel your pain. Like you, my daughter Nechama Liba meant the world to me. The pain when thinking about her is overwhelming. It is total in its force and presence. I appreciated this past weekend very much and somehow it lifted, in some way, a burden from my shoulders. I feel for those who were in our group and hope and pray that they will have success.
I am concerned for those who are afraid that if they stop hurting, then they might start forgetting. In some ways the pain is the only thing that bonds us to our children. It is the proof that the love and the relationship were real. Feeling pain is the only way of us showing our love… for how can one remain happy after the loss of a child? Were we to be happy, wouldn't that be a sign that we never loved... or that we no longer love the child we lost. Wouldn't that be a sign of being callous?! In many ways, pain, and grief for a lost child is inevitable. There will always be times when, whether we like it or not, that a parent will feel that pain. It is part of you.

However, What if instead of being pained by the loss, or paralyzed by the loss, we gain strength from it? What if we were to use that relationship to give meaning to our lives? Imagine if those moments that are the most difficult...the ones that gave us the most joy when our child was living.... were used as a remembrance.
It would be like a reliving of what once was. The pain at those shul on Simchas Torah or at home during a Shabbos seudah.... is the most painful because of the lack of presence of the child that we lost.

Perhaps an approach is to turn the entire thing around. The natural way is to live in pain for fear that we will forget and run away from those experiences that are the most painful because of the lack of presence of the child is so deeply felt. Why not, forgive ourselves, and draw our strength from our child, and run towards those experiences, (the ones where the lack of presence is felt) and use it as a way to remember. My daughter is my inspiration. She lived for years, knowing she would most likely die young with a big smile. She didn’t let fear of her own death stop her from living her life. I will try to draw strength from that, by not let her actual death stop me from living mine. My daughters’ death has changed my perspective on everything. When I stop and appreciate my other children, it is a testimony to my daughter. That creates a connection to her. I have learned from her and it is in thanks to her. That creates a bond that is real.

After all is said and done, the pain is real. I miss her and no one can take that away. I loved her and she loved me and nothing will ever change that. She will always be my little girl in my heart. I will cherish the memories and will always long to be with her again. Every day I will work towards being the best person that I can so that one day, when I die, I will be worthy to spend eternity in the holy place where she currently resides. At that time this life will seem like a fleeting moment. Until then, I will draw strength from her memory to weather the difficult days and the rest of the time use it to give meaning to my life.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rick here Glen. Remember me from the Chai retreat a year ago? I was not an Orthodox Jew but raised and practice Conservative Judaism. I sat between you and the man who said it was good for hashem to take his son and I disagreed. You and I also had a few conversations between sessions.

I do feel very lucky to have experienced the unique spirit of my Sam, wise beyond his years. His struggle with Cancer equalled his years on earth. Three. Though I have been blessed by his presence and changed for the better because of his life, I cannot help but feel the pain and sadness when I ponder all of the things he will never experience and the pain that is left to those who loved him. So yes, I return to those memories for comfort, but I also cannot help but feel stung by the misery and pain of the deepest of losses and know I must continue walking wounded without him.

10:49 AM  

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