By Malkie Hirsch
As I strolled through the aisles of the grocery store, I listened to Livia tell me that she was making her next big move.
Away from us. But closer to where she belongs, where we all belong.
Selfishly, though I don’t see her often, I want her to be here. For me. For as infrequently as we spoke to or saw each other, I wanted things to remain the same, because so much of life as I knew it has changed.
She, like my other friends and my mother and father who make up the most amazing support system ever, has contributed in such a profound way to my life.
I want her to continue to do so.
She would very often preface her thought by saying, “I know this because I’m older than you …” and I’d nod my head and laugh it off.
But it was true.
She’s lived more life than I have.
But she hasn’t lived through the losses I have. And I wonder how that will shape me as I age.
Will I become a hardened, bitter individual, resenting the loss I had to endure at such a young age? Or will it open me up to empathize with people who are suffering similar losses and enable me to be there for them in some capacity?
I hope it’s the latter.
I hope I can inspire and show people that the end of the life of a loved one doesn’t mean it’s the end for you, though some might wish it were at times.
I hope I can show people that once your heart is broken into pieces, it doesn’t mean that it can’t be patched back together again. That it can’t be more understanding and stronger as it heals. That the feelings of sadness and desperation for the suffering to end can’t change into happiness, gratefulness, and a new intense appreciation for life, like you’ve never had before.
As I objected to her news and tried to get her to promise to stay (unsuccessfully, I might add), she told me something so beautiful.
She asked me if I had ever heard of G-d supplying the cure before the illness. I said that I hadn’t and she said that it was brought down in Megillat Esther, when Hashem placed Esther in the kingdoms of Achashveirosh before the times got really tough for B’nei Yisrael. He put her in place because He knew how trying the times ahead would be and wanted to ensure the proper “medicine” to protect the children of Israel.
I had my support system, which, up until now, I just called “my friends” and my parents and my brothers and sister.
But they’re so much more than that, each a vital component. And collectively, they’re here for me and the kids every day to do whatever it is they can for us.
They’re the medicine, the remedy, the cure. They’re the ones who patch my heart back together so that I can be a more complete, loving mother for my kids.
They’re the ones who speak of the future, the fun things we’ll do, the places we’ll go, the smachot we’ll celebrate together, how we’ll watch our kids grow older, and maybe I’ll get to enjoy life like I once did. As the wise Livia did say, she’s older, so she knows more than I do.
Maybe she sees something I don’t. But, hopefully, one day I will.
Malkie’s husband, Moshe, a’h, passed away in March at the age of 40. Over the past few months, Malkie has been sharing her thoughts 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.