There’s so much I want to tell you about – things that have happened in the last 347 days since you’ve been gone, and things that I’m planning for the next 347 days, that I’d love to hear your thoughts about. Mundane things, like how I made a new recipe I thought you’d like. How Itiel learned to walk, speak, and most recently, to sing. How I continue to navigate the Israeli healthcare system, despite dozens of setbacks, to ensure that the kids get everything they need. I know you’d be proud, since you did the same. I want to share with you the kids’ great report cards, and to celebrate their accomplishments over drippy Israeli ice cream, just the way we’ve done for the past five years. I wish you could revel in Hollie’s recent hair donation, and to crack your jokes about how you could have really used that hair. I want to tell you about the restaurant where we celebrated our recent anniversary, a celebration we’ve done together for the past decade, since your birthday was the day before. (They served some great veal, and I know you would have loved it.)
It’s funny, but sometimes I even yearn to sit by your hospital bed and to have your undivided attention and complete candor. Those weren’t fun days, but they were certainly branded with their own sort of specialness. Of course, I also miss the days when we lived 50 yards away from each other, and I could come over at any time of day or night to drop off something that I’d just baked, or to share some of your expensive orange juice (or wine!). Most often though, I long for the days where you didn’t have time for a visit because you were too busy changing the world of Torah learning. Even then, when you were so busy working tirelessly through your retirement years, you always had time for a call, even about matters that weren’t all that important.
I’d give anything to make you a peanut butter and cheese sandwich, or, even better, something gooey and chocolaty that wouldn’t be good for you but would surely taste amazing. And mostly, I’d love to have just one more “Poppy talk.” I’d ask you to help me understand the cycle of grief and loss, and how to deal with such immense emptiness. I suspect you’d tell me how you didn’t merit to know your grandparents like I knew you, but that you’ve counseled hundreds of people going through it, and how you don’t know how, but somehow, at some time, it gets easier. To be honest, I thought it would be easier by now. But here I am, 347 days later, crying onto my keyboard.
In just a few days we’ll mark the end of the Jewish year of mourning. But despite this ritual milestone, I’m not quite there yet. Part of me really wants to be, but the other part of me isn’t quite ready to let go. I’m not sure I’ll ever be. But since I don’t really have a choice, I guess I’ll keep trying, and hoping that in 347 days from now, things will be easier – not just for me, but for the many people in our family who continue to love and miss you. I know that’s what you’d want…and you know that I aim to please. May your memory be blessed.