By Malkie Hirsch
We had plans.
Things to look forward to in the future, while raising the beautiful family we created together.
The Sunday lunches we’d embark upon once the boys would come home from school. They loved the restaurants that served smoothies and pancakes, and my kids would sit there, waiting for their food, so well-mannered that there would almost always be a sweet comment from a passerby or waiter.
I suppose the fond memories I have will get me through the moments when I crave Moshe’s presence so badly that only a beautiful memory of our family’s oneness and love for each other will do.
The winter vacations we braved, not knowing how we’d manage with first three and then four and five kids in unfamiliar locations, but in the end being pleasantly surprised at how much fun the kids — and adults — had. Moshe’s birthday always fell out in the middle of winter break and we’d decorate the door of our hotel room with birthday paraphernalia, but he was always a good sport. He’d go on the surfing ride with the kids and they just loved watching him try to stay on that surfboard for as long as possible. He was the coolest father, but also silly enough to do things that he might not succeed at, and he would always turn it into a life lesson for the kids to learn from. I hope the kids can cherish that time with him for the remainder of their lives. And if they ever need a reminder, I’ll be there.
The bar mitzvahs, Chanukah parties, Purim parties, Shabbos meals, and weddings we were supposed to make together. As I run around the house on erev Shabbos after I complete my chores and start on the things Moshe used to take care of for me (preparing the candles, Shabbos mode on electric devices and appliances, and preparing the blech), I’m overcome with sadness at the thought that he’ll never get to do these things again. It was his Shabbos contribution and he took it so seriously, because he knew how much it helped that I didn’t have to think about those details. As he ran around the house, arranging the Siddurim and chairs for our Friday night minyan, we’d get a pre-Shabbos knock at the door. Howie, Morris, or another friend would come in, make a comment that would make us laugh, Moshe would have the kugel out to serve the men or he’d offer a piece of cake, and this would usher Shabbos into our home. The men would arrive and do a little catch-up session before and after davening, and I’d watch from the couch while reading and think, “This is what it’s all about, isn’t it?”
The men would sometimes stay for an hour after davening, and many times we’d have the Kreigers join us for an impromptu meal, where we’d sit and laugh for hours.
Oftentimes, I wonder how I’ll garner the strength it takes to make my boys’ simchas on my own. I’m nine months from making the first bar mitzvah, and when I’m asked what my plans are, I shrug my shoulders. I am truly at a loss. I feel like an incomplete person for having to do this alone, for having to ask my 12-year-old what he wants, how he’d like to celebrate his simcha, when I know if he could have any wish come true, he’d say “I want to celebrate my bar mitzvah with Tatty. That’s all I want.”
But we’re not in a fairytale and wishes sometimes don’t come true. My kids know what real life is made of, because they were forced to swallow that bitter pill six months ago, when their father was taken swiftly from them.
So it’ll be me who makes the invite list, my mother, my father, and brothers who help out with suit shopping and tefillin, my friends and neighbors who help with decor and all the things I don’t know are required for planning a party, and it’ll be happy.
It’ll also be immensely sad and I’ll whimsically think about the plans we made as a couple that I’ll now have to execute without Moshe. But I’ll do what he would have wanted and I’m sure he’ll be watching it all come to fruition. The bar mitzvahs, our winter-break trips, the holiday parties, the Shabbosos with me running around and prepping his part, the dinners out with the kids.
The plan has veered off course slightly, but as long as there’s life, I’ll make it happen.
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.