By Malkie Hirsch
I can’t believe it’s been a year since I’ve seen you last.
A year since you walked through the door at the end of the day, head stooped in your way, grabbing the mail as you went, and greeting the kids who wanted face time with their favorite person on earth.
You’d stick your head in the kitchen to show your face and sometimes sneak downstairs to the office before dinner to check something quickly for work, which would sometimes delay you for longer, but it was your love and dedication to whatever you felt passionately about that fueled your tireless drive.
I still find it odd that there’s only one car parked in front of our house.
I find it heartbreakingly sad that the kids don’t run out to greet you when you drive up at the end of a long day. Because it’s been a year and they now know that there’s no such thing as happy endings. Just real life that can be brutally sad and unfair at times.
You know that feeling when an event feels like it happened a minute ago but at the same time it feels like an eternity has passed?
That’s how I feel about not having you in our lives the way you used to be.
How has it been a year since you’d quietly get ready in the morning, so as not to disturb the sleeping members of our family?
How has it been a year since we’d huddle together at the Shabbos table, the only time you were able to breathe and relax and look around the table at your people and glean love and satisfaction from all the hard work you put in to get what you wanted and deserved?
How has it been a year since I didn’t have to figure out yet another thing myself?
The memory of knowing that you had it all figured out and taken care of before I even caught wind of what was needed is a feeling I miss so much, it hurts.
Remember when you’d tell me that there was a shalom zachor you had to attend and that you wouldn’t stay for long, but you had to show your face and wish the ba’al simcha a mazal tov? I’d fight the sleep that would plague me on a Friday night because, as a rule, I couldn’t fall asleep without knowing you were home.
Imagine the first few nights after your passing and how terrifying the concept was of never hearing the combination lock open as you walked in the door.
How the minute you’d make your way upstairs, I was able to relax and breathe because I knew you’d be there to help and I could let whatever I was worrying about go because you’d be there for me in any way I needed.
Imagine never feeling that way again.
Remember when you had to be out at simchas on the two consecutive nights before your sudden death at work and the only thought I had (before receiving a phone call in the middle of the Wednesday that would change my life forever) was that I was really looking forward to having you home at your usual time.
I now know the reason you had to be out those nights before you left us. I feel like it was G-d’s way of preparing me for what was to be.
I know you’re at your final place and I hope you have peace. I hope you have everything you deserve, because you were such a special person.
You gave everything of yourself to your family and friends. You gave everything of yourself to your work life and your clients. Everyone who came in contact with you still tells me how attentive and generous with your time you were.
How patient and honest you were.
You had a deeper understanding of the important things in life and never got caught up in the pettiness. I know you tried teaching me this during our time together and I want you to know that I’m going to do everything it takes to instill your life values into our children. I’m going to make you proud.
The kids are growing up so fast.
Dovid has been through so much this year but despite all that, he’s managed to do everything so well. He said a full Kaddish, he kept up his grades, and he’s studying for his bar mitzvah parasha in June.
He’s still Dovid, but he’s got a touch of sadness that he’ll likely never shake, and I know he misses you desperately, every minute of every hour of every day.
I can’t hug him the way you did and I know I’ll never be able to fill your shoes. He talks about you more often now, which I’m thankful for, because I think it’s such an important part of healing.
Nissy has become the family comedian and is a constant source of laughter and light. He’s your twin, and often my father will say that he doesn’t have to miss your face because your mirror image is sitting at the table across from him in the form of an 11-year-old boy.
Nissy is sweet and easygoing. He’s funny and popular. He talks about you all the time but is never sad when he reminisces. He speaks of you with a smile and always brings up the great times we had as a family.
Yosef is my eager helper. He’s super sensitive, which became more pronounced after you left us suddenly. He gets up for Rosie in the morning and helps with her before school.
He’s the middle child who didn’t know his place among his older brothers but found strength just being Yosef. He takes out the garbage, preps food for when I’m cooking, and whenever I ask for his help, he does it immediately and with such happiness.
You’d be so proud of the way he’s stepped up in this last year, at the tender age of 8.
Gavi is a real thinker. He’s bright and mature. In the beginning, he was the first to openly acknowledge your passing with such ease and candidness. He didn’t shy away from the subject of our missing Tatty and I think it’s healed him, being so comfortable with knowing that he’ll see you again, in the time of Mashiach. His faith inspires me.
Rosie was a baby when you passed suddenly and she’s still too little to grasp what’s happened. Her brothers are fiercely protective and loving towards her and she has so much attention from so many; I hope she doesn’t have to feel the emptiness we all do from missing you.
Her perspective will be a different one, as getting to know her father will be through stories and pictures, more abstract than the real connection her siblings were lucky enough to develop with you.
I’m envious of her position but also feel sorry for her for not fully understanding what she missed by not knowing firsthand how incredible a person you were. How giving and selfless. How loving and attentive.
So you see, the children are well — changed, as expected, but thriving.
And I am thriving, too. We had a beautiful marriage, so much so that I’ve begun to hope and pray to have another one.
For some mourners, the halachic period ends at a year. Halachic mourning is different from emotional mourning — it is more prescribed, more exact.
Real mourning is an organic, messy, nonlinear process. You know how much we loved you — that was always clear.
We still do.
And yet, I think you would be proud of how we’ve pieced our hearts back together, day by day, moment by moment.
We’ve celebrated Shabbosos and yomim tovim, planned a simcha, and invited joy and laughter back into our home, along with the tears.
You are with us always, Moshe.
Continue to watch over us and be happy.
Malkie’s husband, Moshe, a’h, passed away a year ago 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.