After my husband Moshe died, I found myself receiving messages from people I didn’t know who had been through a similar trauma.
Different people with various stories — having a husband or wife pass away, sometimes after many years of being ill and sometimes suddenly, in their sleep or sitting at work.
Some of these men and women came to the shivah house and spoke to me about their personal experiences. In a strange way, it helped me to know that they woke up every day and did what was required of them as parents, caretakers, and adults.
Even if they felt like their world was falling apart, they did what they had to do for their kids. For the people who relied on them.
Because even though you feel like the world temporarily stops when something this shocking and tragic happens, the craziest part is that it goes on. People are living their lives around you as they did before. People are writing the same silly posts. They’re agonizing about the same pointless and frivolous things.
Things that shouldn’t matter.
But to them, it’s important.
In your mind, you scream, “THIS IS NOT IMPORTANT!”
They don’t get it.
And I hope they never will.
Because if you’re lucky enough to live your life without experiencing something devastating during the course of it, all the little things are pretty big, pretty important.
But it’s all put into perspective after you live through your first tragic life event. You indeed stop sweating the small stuff.
It all sounds pretty depressing, I know. And I hope you also know that that’s not entirely my point here.
Really, what I’m getting at is that I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to meet these incredible people in the past couple of months. I hate to overuse this word, but these are the epitome of strong people with the will to move forward and do what their loved one would have wanted them to do.
It sounds easy enough as I write it, but when you find yourself having a physical reaction like not being able to get enough air into your lungs because breathing through the agony is too hard, you realize that every little thing you did before has taken on a new meaning.
It’s hard to get up in the morning with the knowledge that you won’t see your spouse that day, and that your kids won’t run towards his car when he pulls up at home after a long day at work. Everyone’s life has gone on, and yours is at a standstill — completely new and unrecognizable.
And you hate it.
But then I see my new friends. Who lost a spouse, a child, a parent — and they moved forward in their lives. They made a good life even when they didn’t want to live.
They came to a stranger’s house to tell her that she would get through this and that her kids would be amazing and resilient, too.
It might not be OK now, but, one day, it will be. One day, she’ll think of her husband and it’ll warm her heart instead of leaving her cold and clammy and nervous about the future of their children.
So I hold on to hope.
Each day, I think of amazing memories Moshe left with us, instead of the trauma of leaving us so suddenly.
I want to thank all those selfless people who came here without knowing me to make me feel like I can do this because they did this and they’re still here. And their kids are stronger from it and happy, too.
You know who you are.
All my love and appreciation,
Malkie’s husband Moshe, a’h, passed away 8 weeks ago at the age of 40. Over the last two months she has been sharing her thoughts and emotions with readers on her Instagram page. 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.