Moshe and Malkie Hirsch


Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. And some have greatness thrust upon them.” — William Shakespeare (Twelfth Night)

In the beginning of this new writing journey, I’d worry that I wouldn’t have material to fill the page where my column currently resides.

This has taken on a life of its own and is now responsible for helping other people navigate those sharp twisted roads in life. I want to do good by the people who have come to rely on the words written here, but I don’t want it forced and unnatural. I want it to continue to flow the way it always did and I want it to be meaningful and to matter.

On some weeks, it’s a lot to take on, because though writing is something that comes naturally to me, sometimes life gets in the way. Which was a recent realization and somewhat of an eye-opener. I needed to realize that’s my material.

Life is my muse and the pain is the catalyst that motivates me to continually write. As the weeks progress and the kids and I are more familiar with this new life, the writing will take on happiness and hope at times. On a tough series of days, or one where my kids might present new challenges, my writing will reflect those darker feelings of uncertainty. As long as I continue showing up day after day and speaking my truth, I needn’t worry about the impact.

My life changes every day and so will the feelings written here. Sometimes these lines are filled with depth and profundity, and other times, it’s just the simpler, mundane mental bricks of my own rebuilding, which I’ve come to learn are equally important to those walking this path with me.

Recently, I was able to express that to someone who had recently suffered the devastating loss of her young husband. When she reached out and told me about how things were going, it was as if I was talking to the person I was last year. It conjured up feelings of gratitude that my family has passed that emotionally exhausting stage, and also tremendous empathy for what she has up ahead. When something so life-altering happens, there’s no patching it up with a Band-Aid and candy. There’s no reassurance that it’ll all be OK. It would be a disservice to give her false hope. The only thing I could tell her is what my personal experience has been like. I can’t in good conscience mislead or sugarcoat something I know will be the most challenging stage of her life.

So, like a muscle memory of a time I’d love to keep hazy but have no choice to recall in intricate detail, I go over the feelings I had, that my kids had at their various ages, the books that helped me come to terms in the very beginning, the self-care that took place that gave me temporary reprieve, and the concept that it’s totally OK to not be OK. And it’s also OK to have good days, too. It’s OK to feel guilty for genuinely laughing about something and forgetting what happened and it’s OK to excuse yourself and have a cry.

It’s a CliffsNotes version on how to push through a storm of sudden tragedy and the fallout that follows. This rebuilding is painstakingly slow; it happens one moment, one breath at a time.

There are whole chapters in Tanach detailing the dry, technical specificity of how the Mishkan and Beis HaMikdash were constructed, because the hundreds of beams and threads and nuts and bolts and work all come together over time to create beauty and sanctity; nothing was built in a day, much less holiness.

It’s giving pointers on getting that good cry out in the shower while standing under the spray, and, after dropping your kids off at school, letting out a good scream in the car, alone. It’s the advice of taking time for yourself while the kids are in school and greeting them with a big (fake) smile upon their homecoming. It’s doing it over and over and over until one day, you actually believe it and they do too. It’s creating hope by having faith that this trying time will pass and that there will be plenty of happiness to look forward to in the future.

It’s manifesting positivity and making it a reality. It’s powerful and it works. It’s being gentle with yourself and becoming reborn, taking baby steps in the beginning and expecting very little. It’s being proud of yourself when you managed to take a shower and get dressed. And that is all for that day.

It’s living minute to minute and increasing it with time — by day and week and month. It’s also becoming strong enough to carry it for the next person who will deal with something similar to your loss in the future. Paying it forward.

Having gratitude for getting through the trying times, as I did. Appreciating the genuine smiles on my kids’ faces. It’s the small things that are way bigger and more meaningful than I realized before loss.

Malkie’s husband, Moshe, a’h, passed away at the age of 40. She has been sharing her thoughts and emotions with readers on her Instagram page @Kissthekoshercook. We are privileged to share her writings and reflections with our readership. May Moshe’s memory be a blessing for Malkie and her beautiful family.


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