Today is the 1st anniversary, in the Hebrew calendar, of the death of my mom. Although she passed on the 3 June, this year our Yarzheit for her falls on the 24 May. A whole year has passed in a flash. The strangest part of it all, is that today would have been her 85th birthday. I decided to read my journal from that awful day last year, hence this repost.
Thursday, June 4 @ 10.19 pm Pacific Coast Time (San Francisco)
Generally, this has been an exceptionally long and difficult time for my family and in particular for me. Not seeing my children and grandchildren for well over 15 months was very painful for me, but knowing we had a double simcha in the form of a new baby and a wedding, kept me going. It was marred by the fact that my mom wasn’t strong enough physically to travel the many miles to be at her granddaughter’s wedding. The tough year (2008), we all suffered through, was even more traumatic for my mom. She’d lost my dad at such a young age and then my younger brother in the prime of his life and, in horrific circumstances, in front of her eyes, her sister was taken from her in a violent act of murder.
Both Nicki and Tania were Mary’s eldest grandchildren and they forged an incredible bond with her in their very early years. She was an integral part of their lives, helping with babysitting and then lift schemes as they got older, whenever she could. Both her and my dad, were besotted with their grandchildren. Sadly and prematurely, my father, passed away soon after we moved overseas 22 years ago. I had to leave the children in Israel to get back to his funeral. Then my brother Brian passed away so suddenly on my eldest grandson’s 3rd birthday – both my girls were living in the USA. Similarly when my aunt passed away, the girls were in the USA.
- There has to be a reason that I planned to stay longer with my children for this trip. For both Nicki and Tania who’ve had had to mourn so often over the last few years, from a distance, with no physical connection to our dear departed, I am thankful I am here for both of them. They need me as much as I need them. Last weekend, Mary’s birthday, we all spoke to her – a week after Tania’s wedding. She and Tania were cracking jokes and they were all excited about Tania and Warren coming back to SA in December so she could meet Warren.
The thought that they won’t see their granny again and that she never got to know her newest, youngest great grandson, Jed, is incredibly sad for us all. Yesterday I decided to stay and sit shivah here. The split families that South Africa has caused are horrific and times have changed so radically that I’m sure G-d and my mom understand why I need to be here for my children and grandchildren as well as for myself. In fact, I know my mother would have wanted me to stay. Doron, sadly has lived through all these horrible losses from a very young age – it has made him stronger I’m sure. He has, however, always had both his parents to comfort him through all the sadness. Nicki and Tania did not. Nicki’s husband R, fortuitously I think, went to SA this week on business, which is all the more reason that I need to be here. I am grateful he is there for my sister and my son.
Fortunately my kids have a wonderful community and their Rabbi came over yesterday. – I feel rather jaded at this part, (sitting shivah), having gone through it so often, but for the girls sake, I was glad he could give them some insight into the next “leg” of their granny’s journey – or rather, the journey of her soul. I was pleased that he agreed with the ‘logic’ of my thinking, as far as staying here was concerned. I guess I needed reassurance that I wasn’t making a mistake, although at the end of it all, no one can make that decision for us, except ourselves.Thank you for your condolences and compassion and all the wonderful words of sympathy. I don’t think any of you realise, how much your good wishes mean to our family during this terribly sad time. Your warm thoughts are a source of comfort to us all during these difficult days.
Warm hugs to you all,